As a college student and a Gen Z, every time a group collaboration begins, the inevitable question gets asked: “Wanna start a GroupMe?” If the annoying Google Generation habit of using the app’s name to mean its service weren’t enough, the fact that Microsoft’s GroupMe is the preferred app is. People’s reasons for preference vary. The first I’d ever heard was that GroupMe allows you to “like” messages. Some say it’s because the app works through SMS. But most people say that the app’s what they’ve always used, and old habits die hard. But whatever their reason, I think the app is terrible, and here are five specific reasons why:
Insufficient Desktop Support
There’s a big UI flaw in GroupMe’s image display screen, too. I’d write about it here, but I don’t feel like cluttering this article. Ask me in the comments.
Having apps work across your different devices is a standard these days: we want all our apps to work on mobile devices, tablets, and desktop computers. iMessage, WeChat, and WhatsApp all have apps on Mac. Facebook Messenger works in-browser at messenger.com or through facebook.com itself. GroupMe works via browser as well. But here’s the thing: let’s say your phone is blowing up with a million notifications from a group message. Since you’re already using your computer, you simply navigate to groupme.com to check them out. Once you’ve seen all the new messages on your computer, you want those notifications on your phone to disappear, right? Well, they won’t. Not until you open the app on your phone or clear them manually.
Remember when Apple announced that iOS 7 would allow for automatic app updates? They sold this at the Keynote by showing the App Store’s home screen icon with a notification badge, displaying a rising number of notifications. Craig Federighi said, “Don’t you hate this?” Yes, Craig, yes we do. But apparently the people at GroupMe don’t. Take Facebook Messenger: no matter how many new messages have been sent in a group message, the app icon will only display one number per chat. (If I receive 57 messages in one group message and 24 in another, the icon will display a “2.”) GroupMe, on the other hand, will add a number for every single message you receive. You’ve been there: you find GroupMe on your home screen with a frightening “264” badge on its icon. And let’s say you’ve got a group message muted within the app. Neither Facebook Messenger nor GroupMe will send you notifications for such a chat (the essence of muting), but even if you open up Facebook Messenger, see that there are new messages in your muted chat, and then close the app without looking at them, it won’t display a notification badge. GroupMe, on the other hand, will, until you go into the muted chat to see the new messages. Developers: the point of muting a chat is so we don’t have to deal with it, so don’t make us have to deal with it!
I hope you enjoyed this little farticle. If nothing else, it was a break from the norm on this blog. Let me know what you think about GroupMe in the comments, and let me know what your favorite messaging app is. And of course, be sure to come back for more fun farticles as well as insightful regular articles here at nicholascoker.com.