Google Ventures-backed Rumr Gives Users An Anonymous Way to Chat
Anonymity seems to be one of the latest application trends for 2014, although it make sense with all of the security problems popping up over the past couple of months. This time anonymity has extending itself towards group messaging rumr, a mobile application that allows a group of people to communicate with an extra layer of anonymity. After being in closed for beta testing, the company has finally decided to release the application for the iOS on Tuesday.
“We made a messaging experience that’s for emotions,” said CEO James Jerlicki. “I wanted people to really express themselves, whether funny or serious or in between.”
The company managed to raise its previous funding round from the likes of Kholsa Ventures, GreyCroft Partners and Google Ventures, with a reported amount of $800,000 in total raised funds, which the company has yet to confirm.
While the application has an anonymous feature, this does not mean the users should use this to talk to strangers, Instead, the user connects their phone number and email to the system, followed by choosing a username. To start a conversation, users must agree on entering a chat with a listed number of people they know, although it hasn’t been made clear on who starts the chat. The “anonymity” works during the chat, instead of showing names of the people within the room, users will each be assigned a random color. Jerlicki says that users can only text message at the current moment.
“There are certain things standard in messaging apps that we don’t have access to yet,” Jerlicki said. “You notice pictures aren’t in there.”
Jerilicki said that the product had been beta tested over the past couple of months with over 85 users, who where made up of mostly friends, family and colleagues. Although Rumr has not been tested by those of teen age, and with the apps anonymity it could lead towards cases of bullying. Teens could feel compelled to pick on others or even gang up on a single person. At the moment tho, it will be up to the user whether they feel uncomfortable in the chat and leave it while contacting support of their own.
“An anonymous chat can’t be monitored the same as an identity based chat and requires additional steps to protect the anonymity and the safety of the users,” Rumr told me in an email. “We already have features in development to help make Rumr even safer, with features like flagging offensive posts and timeouts for users who are misbehaving that could lead to a permanent ban on Rumr.”
These features will not be available in the chats first build, which will cause Rumr to run into a conflict. Focus on the growth while knowing measures to help flag offensive members aren’t in place, or wait and risk the growth while the anonymity trend remains hot. With prominent investors at their call, like Google and VCs, Rumr has a huge change to bring in anonymity into the communications biz.