Forget WhatsApp and Facebook is just so, well, 2004. FireChat is hot, hot, hot because it doesn’t need the internet to connect people and doesn’t track let alone keep records of conversions. As a result, FireChat downloads have soared from zero to more than 100,000 a day.

While it topped out at #12 on the US Top Free iPhone Apps listing, FireChat has done much better overseas. At various points of time since its release, FireChat was the #1 social networking app in Australia, Chile and Taiwan.


“It’s doing very well and we’re almost overwhelmed by the success,” said Micha Benoliel. co-founder and CEO of Open Garden, the company behind FireChat. “We’ll see if FireChat will be a revolution. As of now, it’s fair to say it’s an explosion.”

What’s all the buzz about? Hyper local messaging.

FireChat utilizes Apple’s multipeer connectivity framework, which is new in iOS 7, to establish hyper local (ie 30 feet or 10 meters, give or take) ad hoc networks using the wifi and Bluetooth built into the iPhone, etc. While individual, device to device connection can only range about 30 feet, a FireChat user’s message can hop from device to device over much larger distances, especially if one of the intermediate devices has an internet connection.

Who Is FireChat For?

In a nutshell, anyone that either is away from the internet or people that want to message privately among themselves. Examples include young people at a concert, kids at school or workers on a construction site.

SnapChat supports picture taking and sharing. You can email, Message, Tweet and Facebook share from within the app.

Those running FireChat in an area with few users, need to rely on the internet to message and chat. However, the app’s utility increases as the number of users goes up.

There is no registration and, other than making sure your iOS 7 device’s wifi, Bluetooth and, as appropriate, cellular services are turned on, no setup required.

It’s bloody simple to use and, as with all social networking apps, FireChat is free.

What’s the business model? Profit engine? Ain’t no such things. There isn’t even any advertising, yet.

Tried FireChat? What do you think — the next social networking “revolution” or just a flash in the digital pan?

Sort of like the walkie talkie toys some of us played with as kids.