When you take part in big events, it’s only natural that you’d need to communicate with other participants. You could do a group message on Facebook or even a group text, but those have their limitations; you can’t talk to a ton of people at once, and what happens if you’re without internet? Then you’re out of the loop.
Not so with FireChat, an app that’s taking the world by storm. FireChat uses the radios inside our phones to connect the phones directly, without need for an internet or cellular connection. Your phone number is never shown to other people, either (you don’t even have to provide your number to FireChat if you don’t want to). According to the website, your phone can connect with another phone up to 210 feet away, and once more people are close by, your phones all create a network and bounce messages off each other until they are seen by their intended recipients.
This extends the range and allows you to quickly reach large numbers of people. It even works on a plane! If your group is together headed somewhere fun, you can talk to each other while you’re way up in the sky — just make sure to follow the flight attendants’ rules. All you have to do is leave Bluetooth and WiFi on, even if you aren’t connected to a WiFi network. Your phones will automatically connect to each other using what is called a peer-to-peer mesh network. Fancy, huh?
Once you get your profile set up, you’ll see that there are areas for private messages and chatrooms (for large groups). The private messages are encrypted, so only the sender and the recipient(s) can see the messages. If you send a private message to more than one person, it will automatically create a private group, up to 50 people. Public chatrooms can accommodate tens of thousands of people at once. Looks like organizing just got a heck of a lot easier.
If your intended recipient isn’t connected to your local peer-to-peer network, you can send your message anyway. Since people move around frequently, it will get to them eventually, whether it’s through the mesh network or traditional WiFi. Unlike normal networks, FireChat works best when there are a lot of people using it at once, because your messages are able to bounce from phone to phone much more quickly.
Some other features include following and blocking. Following someone lets you know when they become active on FireChat (and also lets you see any images they post), and blocking is exactly what it sounds like; you won’t see their messages, and they won’t see yours. Easy peasy!
Now you can set up your own Women’s March or other event and reach tons of people without any extra effort. Get organizing!
How would you use FireChat? Tell us @BritandCo!
(Photos via FireChat + Getty)