October 14, 2014Published by: Fereshta Amir

FireChat hits over 1m users & what this means for Internet globally


In the last week alone, there were over 300,000 downloads of the FireChat app, which saw it become the number one app in the App Store and Google Play. There were between 12,000 to 20,000 simultaneous users within the messaging platform and a whopping 2,800,000 chat sessions. The average duration per chat session was 3 and a half hours. (Source: Open Garden CEO Micha Benoliel).

We wrote about FireChat when it first launched in March 2014 - it received 100k downloads a day within the first few days of its launch and the user stats now total up to over a million within just a year. As a hyperlocal social messaging app that uses mesh networks it can be used without the Internet and is able to connect people underground or where there’s poor signal. As such it has become the go-to app for protesters, most recently at #OccupyCentral in Hong Kong which saw it become the life line of protesters as they shared updates, organised demonstrations and warned each other of riot police.

There is the potential for FireChat to significantly impact the global Internet and become a cult app. In an interview with The Atlantic, Stanislav Shalunov, co-founder and CTO of OpenGarden, the startup behind Firechat, said:

“There’s lots of people besides protesters in Hong Kong that we want to help. We want to be used by billions of people,” said Shalunov. “We’re not there yet, but being used to run a revolution, and so soon? That was something of a surprise.”

We'll be keeping a close eye on how FireChat and other mesh networking platforms develop further - we'll keep you posted.

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