Beluga drowning as users defect to Foxfly and other group messaging services

Despite the wake-up call from TechCrunch made a few weeks ago by MG Siegler, Beluga has not yet made any improvements in their service. Over the past week we have received a growing number of messages like the ones below, lamenting Beluga’s slow push notifications and dropped messages.

Great app! Very prompt and timely. Push notifications are timely as well and it doesnt loose internet connection every 5 seconds like some other apps Ive used (beluga). Thank you guys for the free texting/chat! Keep up the good work!!! – Russel

I use Foxfly. Don’t get any notifications at all anymore from Beluga.  – Etoh

While Facebook’s acquisition was the shot the rang ’round the world for the messaging industry, it now seems as if Facebook may really have “harpooned it in the head” as Siegler put it. This is turning to be a boon for Foxfly and other group messaging startups that have risen in its place, as users now hooked on group messaging, are turning to alternative options.

However, although the whale in the room has all but left, another elelphant stepped into its place when Apple announced the inclusion of iMessage in its iOS 5 at its most recent WWDC event. iMessage promises all the features of group messaging apps – free push notification messaging, sharing photos and videos, typing notifications etc. Although there’s no indication of if/how they will include traditional text messaging or whether they will expand onto other platforms (as BBM is planning to do), Apple has made overtures about entering the social networking race with the release of Ping last fall, and group messaging seems like the perfect beachead to do so.

News lit up with Twitter users singing the death song for group messaging startups after Apple’s shocking announcement. However, iMessage is still a ways away from replacing the current multi-platform, text messaging enable platforms available today. While there likely will be some impace as iPhone to iPhone messaging moves to iMessage, users are likely going to continue using the platform that makes it the easiest to reach ALL their friends. For now Foxfly and other group messaging startups are just trying to handle the flood of users that are rolling off of Beluga. Changes are certainly in works though as everyone waits to see what Apple’s next move will be.

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