We Meet = An location aware SMS group communication application
Last week we were invited to visit the Nokia Research Center in Bangalore, where the Nokia Team introduced us to a pilot program of an application called We Meet. The application allows users to chat with groups of users, allowing the user to share his location also with the rest of the group. This application is created for emerging markets, where internet on the mobile has still not fully taken off. The We Meet application works with SMS as it’s mode of communication.
We Meet is a Java application which should work on most Nokia Symbian Series 40 and 60 phones. If you have an unsupported phone you can still use We Meet using a Text interface, where you can communicate with We Meet with a set of commands. Head over to this link to get a list of the text commands you can use. There’s also a web client in the making which should come out pretty soon.
The application allows you to create a new group. Once you create a new group, you can add friends either by adding them manually or by getting their contact details from your phone book. Once created, you’ll have to wait a while till your group is approved on the server (it takes a few minutes at most, as we saw). Your friends will get an invite by SMS to join We Meet, which they can do either by SMS or by downloading the application. Once they accept your invite, they’ll receive messages sent to the group either by you or others in the group.
Initially I though that this is the same as sending SMS messages to all your friends, but Praveen from NRC did mention that you send only 1 message to communicate with the entire group. So even if the group contains more than 15 people, the application sends out only one message – a huge saving if you communicate with the group regularly. You’re not limited to adding only one group, so you can have multiple groups for different friends.
To chat with a group of friends, just select the group on the main screen, and you get to see some of the history of the previous conversations in the group, and you can enter your own message to send out in this screen.
If you’re worried about privacy settings and want to disable the location broadcast, just head over to the settings screen where you can do this and get other statistics like how many messages the We Meet application received and sent out.
The application figures out your location based on CBS – Cell Broadcast Service messages and does not use GPS at all. So once in a while you may find a friend of yours in a funk location like Astro5567, since some operators use the CBS meesages to push marketing messages:
As we mentioned earlier, this application is still in the pilot stage. If you’re interested in trying it out and easing your group communication, head over to the application’s current home page at: wemeet.nokiapaloalto.com