Chris Alexander

On Engineering

Beluga: A revolutionary platform

30th December, 2010

I’m just going to say this - the point of me writing this review is that you go and download the Beluga app for your iPhone or Android device right now. Not because someone can give me some dollars (coz that would be nice) but because for the first time in many years I see an application that could possibly just change things on a scale bigger than Twitter and Facebook.

No light words, there. But Beluga is an application unlike any other that I have seen. While it seems simple on the outside, I think it has some kind of power to do something great and get rid of SMS, and Facebook for good. But it’s not just me - Louis Gray and MG Siegler have been waxing lyrical about it too.

So what does this app actually do that makes it so cool?

It’s a new entry in the group messaging space that takes a bit of a twist. Where previous models have been based on SMS as the baseline, they have as a result provided a poor experience on more advanced mobile platforms which can deal with so much more than that. Beluga’s “pods” are capable of containing location, date/time event information, and photos, with SMS being a fallback for people without suitable devices.

The app has great pedigree. The team consists of only 3 people so far, but all of them are former Googlers who have based this app on things they’ve really wanted to do in the real world - so has a great foundation. They’re also sharing offices with Quora, which is super-hot at the moment too.

How do you actually use the app then?

The Beluga “pods” are a private message room, in essence. Anybody in the “pod” can read all of the messages and see all of the information; nobody outside the pod can see anything. It is beautifully simple to use as a result.

While I’ve not tried it in earnest out and about, I really want to - so this is what this post is about. Everybody grab Beluga and sign up - if it doesn’t tell you about me straight away, then add me using the e-mail address in the “Connect” tab above or my mobile number if you have it. I’d like to try it out for something like the Reading Tweetup to see how it can be organised that way. Also comment below about what you think of it!