FireChat is revolutionary. It changes the way communities keep in touch and get organised. If you are a leader or organizer, get FireChat and start something! FireChat is a free mobile app for iOS and Android. Follow this link: www.getfirechat.com
FireChat enables communication among very large groups, in real-time. FireChat has been used all over the world, from Taiwan to Hong Kong, Delhi, Moscow, Paris and Manila. Some people have called FireChat: the "app for crowds."
Conversations happen in "chatrooms." You can create a chatroom under the name of your organization, a project, an event or any topic. Chatrooms scale very quickly: they can gather as many as tens of thousands of people simultaneously. When your phone is connected to the Internet, the chatrooms become the place for live communication between users everywhere in the world: anyone can share messages and pictures with everyone else in real time.
The most special thing about FireChat is that it also works if you are not online, for example when there is no Internet connection or cellular phone coverage. It even works on a plane. When your community physically gets together, it will create its own communication network, for free and without relying on traditional networks. You don't have to do anything special: just use your phone and FireChat. This is game-changing at large public gatherings such as sports games, rallies, and music events-- and also in disaster situations or under normal circumstances to create local communication at zero cost.
“Open Garden may have found the next version of the Internet.”
- Financial Times, March 2015
When no Internet connection or cellular networks are available, FireChat uses the radios inside our phones to connect directly with one another. In that case (which is also called “off-the-grid”), messages will travel up to 70 meters (210 feet) from one phone to the next.
If there are more than two devices, they will form a network and messages will bounce from one device to the next, thus extending the range of the network.
The more people use FireChat, the better the network gets for everybody. This is why FireChat works really well for very large groups of people. It works even when cellular phones are down, which happens frequently during massive gatherings such as music festivals-- or the visit of the Pope in the Philippines.
We’ve also heard people say that FireChat is the app that works when others can’t.
1.Download FireChat on your iOS or Android device. The easiest way is to follow this link: www.getfirechat.com. It's a small file: 7 MB.
2. Create your profile. Pick a username, and add a photo and a short bio. You may choose to be anonymous by picking a pseudonym, use your real name, or create the account under the name of your community or organization.
3. Follow other people. This is optional.
4. Start chatting. The default chatroom is called Everyone. From here, you can move to any chatroom by clicking on the hashtags contained in messages. A hashtag works as a link to a chatroom.
5. Create your chatroom. Typing a hashtag in any message (for example #Football) automatically creates the chatroom and starts a new discussion. If the chatroom already exists, you will be joining the conversation there.
6. Invite your community. Tap on the “star” on the top right corner of the screen. This automatically creates a link and a screenshot of your chatroom, which you can share via Twitter, Facebook, SMS, Email. etc… You can also copy that link to use it anywhere or even type it yourself. The format is http://firech.at/Football.
People who follow this link will be automatically placed into your chatroom after they have downloaded FireChat. If they already have FireChat, it will simply bring them in the chatroom.
If you are “off-the-grid”, remember to keep Bluetooth and WiFi turned on so that you can see other FireChat users nearby. That’s all. You do not need to do anything else.
If you are the leader of a community, give FireChat a try: it will allow you to update all community members at the same time. For example, you can share information on meetings, projects, or use of funds, while at the same time creating an online space for all members to debate the life and future of the community. FireChat provides an unbroken thread of messages. Unlike with other social networks, such as Facebook, everyone sees all the messages in real time, without ads or unrelated content. Unlike other chat apps, such as Whatsapp, it accommodates a very large number of users.
Please let us know what you think-- we would love to hear from you! Email us at email@example.com. We usually respond to all communications within 24 hours.
You can also find us on Twitter @firechatapp, and of course on FireChat: http://firech.at/OpenGarden.
If you are online, here is a short video presentation.
Following: You can 'follow' someone by tapping on the circle next to their name and clicking the red “Follow” button. To unfollow, simply tap the button again. If you follow people, you will be notified when they become active on FireChat. People who follow you will know instantly when you are active in FireChat. This is very useful when you need to reach your entire community at once.
Blocking: If you don’t like what someone is saying, you can block the person simply by pressing and holding down on a message they sent. The people you block will not see your messages either.
Photos: You may share photos using FireChat, in the same way that you do so over SMS. Only the people who follow you will see your photos. To see someone else’s photos, you need to follow that person.
Favorite chatrooms: If you favorite (e.g. “star”) a chatroom, you will be notified of new messages in that chatroom. If you prefer, you can turn off notifications off from the Settings menu.
Privacy: FireChat is a tool for public communications. It works like Twitter and Instagram from the perspective of message distribution. Anyone can see your messages, whether you are in a big chatroom or a small chatroom. Some people use FireChat with their real name or other identifying information. Some don’t. We leave this decision to the users. Unlike Facebook and Google, FireChat does not require the use of real names.