Why pay for text messaging anymore when you can send texts for free? That’s the message GOGII is trying to send to users via its textPlus application, which has been wildly successful on the iPhone with over 3.2 million downloads.
As with many other successful iPhone applications, textPlus is moving to Android and bringing free texting along with it.
UPDATE: As noted by some commenters, this is a US-only application.
I’ve used textPlus for the iPhone and it’s a solid experience. You can easily send a message via the ad-supported application. The receiver of the text message gets a message from “60611” indicating it is from gaganbiyani (my username on GOGII). Instructions are included in that text on how to reply to me directly. A major advantage of textPlus is in group conversations: you can create a text group (say, your friends in NYC or your poker buddies) and send one message that goes out to all your friends. Since it saves the group for future use and allows users to “reply all,” its a lot more effective than the standard texting platforms.
For Android, the process is smoother since it is a more customizable operating system. This is one of the many apps that benefits from using background processes (which the iPhone doesn’t support), because you can be notified as soon as you get a text message via textPlus. Furthermore, Android will probably see a great year in 2010, and it is a logical choice for GOGII to leverage Android as it grows as a company.
TextPlus for iPhone has proven to be extremely sticky, especially for teens and pre-teens, according to Co-Founder Austin Murray. They see a huge spike in usage on the weekends and a lot of their users are iPod Touch owners who presumably don’t have smart phones or unlimited texting plans. Murray told me that they are sending over 2 million texts per day and the average unique user spends over 250 minutes per month with textPlus.
GOGII was originally funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers’ iFund for $5.2M and recently raised a $8.2M Series B round led by Matrix Partners. The founders – Austin Murray, Scott Lahman, and Zachary Norman – previously founded Jamdat mobile, which had an IPO and eventually sold to EA for $680 million.