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[LINK] “FireChat ‘off-the-grid’ messaging app: What you need to know”

A CBC feature describes FireChat, a Bluetooth-based phone app that lets users chat without resorting to cell networks or the Internet, coming to note globally with the Hong Kong protests.

FireChat, an app that lets users chat without a cellular or internet connection, has been downloaded more than 100,000 times in Hong Kong amid mass pro-democracy protests. Here’s what you need to know about it.

What is FireChat?

FireChat is an iOS and Android app that lets smartphone and tablet users chat even without a cellular or internet connection. That’s why it bills itself as “off-the-grid.”

However, it can also be used to chat over the internet, via its “everyone” mode.

The app was developed by a San Francisco-based company called Open Garden.

How does it work without an internet connection?

In “nearby” mode, the app uses Bluetooth to connect to nearby phones that also have the app installed. If lots of people have the app, they form a “distributed” or “decentralized” network. A message can be passed from phone to phone in a daisy-chain-like fashion, connecting users who are farther away from one another. The company describes it as “crowdsourcing the connectivity of those around you.”

Written by Randy McDonald

October 3, 2014 at 10:43 pm

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