Gather is the next generation of social networking apps, built by Jim Yang and his team in California. Gather lets people network with friends in a location based service using Bluetooth LTE as well as a chat service.
Gather works by using bluetooth to find nearby Gather users and connect with them. User are connected with “Air Heads”, contact cards that contain no private information about the user, just a way to connect with them later via the Gather app. Users can meet by sharing Air Heads, or by being nearby using bluetooth. Once connected, users can start to send instant messages and make app to app voice calls via the app.
With a team of engineers, some ex-Google and ex-Yahoo IM, Gather are working full time in their office in Mountain View to make Gather the next best social networking app.
Sinch managed to catch up with Jim to find out more about how Gather use Sinch.
After building their basic product for 9 months, Gather started to look into IM and Voice providers to add voice and instant messaging into the app.
Gather use the Sinch SDK to power their app to app voice calling function. “We experimented with a few different providers, but Sinch took 10 minutes to drop in and start calling”. After a few days of tweaking and some emails with the Sinch developers, we were ready to go.
”The voice call quality with Sinch is amazing”
Jim also told us that Gather have found that the younger generation of app users seem to prefer texting over calling, whereas the older generation prefer to make voice calls.
Users currently get 1 hour of free calls when they sign up; a restriction based on allowing users to test the service, give feedback to the team and protect the service from spam. “We are not ready to roll out a pay per minutes feature just yet but that is another possibility for the future”.
The USA has been their target market so far, but Gather will soon be launching their app worldwide to build their user base.
UPDATE: As of November 1st, Gather has been rolled out across the world.
And news for Android users, Gather plan to focus on building just for iPhone at the moment. Jim told us their plan is to build the best version of the app for iPhone and look to build Android once they get more feedback from users. “There is so much potential for Gather right now and we are looking at case studies from dating to event networking”.
Download the app here.
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