I sincerely hope this is the last post regarding Beluga I have to write. Since becoming a big fan of Beluga just a year ago, I became concerned when they were bought by Facebook, and then further disheartened when it became apparent that Beluga was no longer loved.
Well, the day has finally come to give Beluga a proper burial:
Now that Facebook Messenger is available everywhere, we’ve decided to stop offering Beluga as a separate service. You can keep using Beluga for now, but we’ll be phasing it out over the next few weeks:
… We’d like to thank you all for being such enthusiastic and loyal users. We’ll continue to use your feedback to improve Messenger and make messaging your friends easier, faster and more fun.
Grrreeeeaaaat… So now that you’ve effectively killed a fantastic, simple, and extremely effective group messaging app, even though there was nothing wrong with it, and now I get to use Facebook instead? You’re assuming I trust Facebook to begin with, and that would be an assumption you shouldn’t make right now.
I’d be lying if I thought we didn’t see this coming. It just would have been nice if they had told us this a long time ago, like back in April when Facebook acquired Beluga in the first place.
So where does that leave us? Well, at this point the only good recommendations I can give are each flawed in their own way. GroupMe is great in many way, but is tremendously hobbled by its ridiculous 160 character limit and the way it deletes your message if you go over while using the web interface. And with GroupMe now owned by Skype, and Skype being owned by Microsoft, I’m not putting it past MS to pull a Facebook and kill the app altogether for their own nefarious reasons.
My new interest is TigerText, which seems to have a lot of potential, but stumbles a little on its non-standard UI. Also of note, TigerText’s 500 character limit isn’t so bad. I’ll be keeping an eye on that one.