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Notifu – awesome group messaging application gets it right at last!


notifu small Notifu   awesome group messaging application gets it right at last!

The Notifu group messaging application is a thing of beauty dear people, and it’s just gone on to the short list as my web application of the year. It provides a simple way to run a group messaging service across multiple platforms. So you can now contact your friends and colleagues automatically via email, SMS, normal phone and IM just by sending off a single message.

There’s a bunch of companies out there trying to win in this group messaging business and we’ve covered a few of them, but what sets this one apart is the sheer comprehensiveness of the design. This is the first application I’ve come across, for instance, which will cope with international SMS with responses. Not only that but it’s beautifully fire and forget, which makes it a superb application for geeks and technophobes alike who need this kind of function.

notifu2 thumb Notifu   awesome group messaging application gets it right at last!

It really is no-brainer easy to set up, and gloriously you can try it out for free without even registering on the site. Just click on the Try it Unregistered button and you’ll see three choices, Send New Message, View Messages and Manage Contacts. That’s it. Click on the first and you can send an instant message to anyone via their phone (via text to speech), mobile SMS, email or IM.

notifu3 thumb2 Notifu   awesome group messaging application gets it right at last! 

Pretty neat, but that’s just part of it. Because if you click on the Manage Contacts, you can set up new contacts, and – listen closely – you’ll be able to assign a series of escalating addresses for each contact, so if the first one doesn’t gather a response in 5 minutes, the system will automatically try the next distribution method and so on. Clever huh? Note that the field stays red until you’ve entered the correct format for the contact details, and the help bar at the bottom tells you why when you try to save. Lovely touch.

Notifu4

Setting up a group of friends, colleagues or whatever is similarly easy. Just add their names under a group name, and then set up their contact details (with or without an escalating address) by clicking on the little blue arrow next to their name and voila, you’ve got yourself a fully fledged group messaging system in minutes. Genius.

Notifu5

The View Messages feature is there because the application also features a sophisticated answering (response) mechanism, so you can see at a glance who has and has not replied. You can even get a snapshot of how many votes for each option there were. Great for getting quick decisions on a topic.

The application is in beta now (they’re currently fixing a couple of things relating to international responses not working) and from the FAQs it seems that there will be a free and Pro/Premium version eventually. Right now the best way to use it is to register, which means that you can save contacts and view stored response messages. Oh, and perhaps I should mention that there’s an iPhone web app version too, again a nice touch. In fact, that’s really my only criticism, why stop at an iPhone version and not just do a general mobile smartphone formatted widget? It’s not a hugely complex app, and the screen size differences between smartphones nowadays is not that great.

Notifu6 

There’s an Open Social version of the application due shortly too, which means that it will be usable within networks like MySpace, Friendster, Plaxo, Hi5, Ning et al, and of course I’m assuming that Facebook can’t be far behind. Developers also can use a beta API set for their own needs.

So that’s it in a nutshell really. I have a pet theory that the web is slowly changing into a sort of online admin control panel, where you’ll set up preferences and receive automatic services to your choice of platform, location and time, and this application is the living embodiment of that concept. When it’s done well – and Notifu is done brilliantly – then we benefit from a really valuable timesaver. Superb!

 What does it cost? Today, Notifu is 100% free (including sending SMS and voice messages to anywhere in the world); however, it is likely in the near future that we will have a Free Edition and Pro Edition and some features will require the Pro Edition (like sending SMS messages, sending voice messages, etc).

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.



  • rON

    Works like it states. Would be great if it had auto-fill from your address book or previous recipients list.

  • http://www.notifu.com Kent Johnson

    Thanks for taking the time to review Notifu!

  • Nigel

    Kent, thanks for taking the time to create it! :-)

  • Nigel

    @Ron – yeah good idea.

  • Guod

    Love the idea … seems to be a few bugs to work out: When setting up an escalation list it seems to hang if the 1st one is ‘Answering Machine’ … From what I read it should goto the next after 5min but I wonder if ‘Answering Machine’ screws things up.

    Love this thing and already tested it out on a couple of friends

    RFE: Google contact import?
    RFE: Auto-login or check-box to remember my login for (say) 1 week

  • http://www.notifu.com Kent Johnson

    Guod, you are correct about this bug. An escalation should stop after the user responds but if a voice call is picked up by an answering machine, it is currently stopping the escalation (it should escalate to the next address though). I’ve created a ticket for this on our end.

  • Nigel

    Kent, bulk addition of contacts? For larger groups?

  • http://www.notifu.com Kent Johnson

    Yes, absolutely. We plan to do this in a couple of ways…

    1) We are working on an OpenSocial app now that will integrate with the host sites friends list

    2) We plan to directly integrate with popular sources of online contacts (Gmail/Yahoo email address books, Gtalk/Yahoo IM/etc contacts, Plaxo, etc).

  • J

    this seems pretty cool. iíll be sure to try it out.

    i think you might also be interested in: http://www.vingtalk.com/cpp

  • http://www.avilapromotions.com Freddie

    I would love to be able to add events to this application and have people RSVP Yes, No or Maybe…

  • http://www.avilapromotions.com Freddie

    It's me again. How many groups will we be allowed to create, would we have the ability to drag and drop contacts into groups and I currently have approx. 500,000.00 email contact and 1200 telephone contacts. would that be an issue? I'm trying to find the perfect app to promote LV, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Canada, but have the abilitie to seperate contacts by region.

    Thank you,
    freddie avila_
    [email protected]

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