There are a number of applications and services being introduced at SXSW that allow for group communications. Ever since Twitter launched here in 2007, companies have explored how to create applications that move from a utilitarian tool to cultural or zeitgeist phenomenon.
The founder of Justin.TV created Yobongo, a real-time chat service that functions like Twitter but lets you talk with people who are near your physical location: no hash tags needed. Think of the old AOL chat rooms, but the people you’re talking with are nearby. The service is young and needs to build up enough users in various cities/locations, but the idea is currently gaining popularity in Austin.
How could this type of technology be utilized in the future?
- Dating—In bars and clubs, people can chat to meet digitally before talking to someone in person.
- Airports—Extroverts may start a virtual chat and then meet before boarding a plane.
- Emergencies—Updates could be given by the Red Cross where people could ask questions in real-time.