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Christopher Mims

A View from Christopher Mims

New Chat Thing Convore Is Google Wave Minus the Suck

Everyone who’s ever had to collaborate remotely knows how important chat tools are—could startup Convore become an essential addition?

  • February 10, 2011

Convore: Inspired by hackers but intended for a general audience. Just like the movie.

Lots of services do group chat: Campfire, the old standby Internet Relay Chat, and of course the ill-fated Google Wave. But upstart Convore, which just went live today, does it differently. Which is to say, exactly the way you’d expect it to:

Convore allows anyone to instantly set up a group chat – like Campfire, except free.

The service saves everything that’s been said – like Wave, only Convore exists.

Convore allows you to find public chats – like IRC, only it has a pretty interface and your mom will be able to figure out how to use it.

In chats, Convore makes links clickable and automatically embeds images – like Twitter, only Twitter really isn’t a chat application.

To really understand Convore, you’ve got to try it. But Convore CTO Eric Florenzano also explains on Quora what makes his service different:

At Convore we’re huge fans of IRC, but we’re disappointed that none of our non-technical friends use it. So we started wondering, how would group chat look if it were invented today?
[…]
So the result we got after putting all these observations together is something kind of like a traditional chat room, but also kind of like a forum or mailing list. It’s somewhere in the middle, and we think that’s where the real sweet spot is.

Convore is new enough that its public chats aren’t full of spam or trolls. Convore CTO Eric Florenzano says (via Convore of course) that once the spammers arrive, “We have a few tools to help group admins out in dealing with spam and trolls, and then we’re prepared to build even better tools as time goes on.”

Its newness also means that, like Twitter, Digg and other social sites in the old days, Convore is still populated by relatively stimulating conversation. For example, the “ask Convore developers anything” thread under the Hacker News group is public and populated by smart geeks asking questions and suggesting features.

While Convore integrates with both Facebook and Twitter in order to identify all the Convore groups created by members of your networks on those sites, it is also unique among sites that do FB / Twitter integration in its use of a strict Social network policy that disallows Convore from posting automatically to Twitter or Facebook on your behalf.

In general, Convore has the polish and responsiveness that most new sites of its ilk lack; I wouldn’t be surprised if businesses and individuals alike came to rely on its private rooms to conduct group chats, if for no other reason than that the site is free and dead-easy to use.

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