Firechat has launched a feature allowing users to connect to one another whilst 'offline', without the use of wi-fi or cellular data.
How it works?
The free app works by linking users of Firechat through a mesh network. Messages bounce off Firechat users in close proximity of the sender, passing the information until it reaches the recipient. It works via bluetooth making it offline meaning Firechat users form a chain in which messages can be passed through.
According to co-founder Christophe Daligant in order for messages to be passed around a city only 5 per cent of the city would need to have the app. That would mean that messages would take up to 10-20 minutes to reach the recipient. However this is assuming that users of Firechat are spread across the city and not grouped into one area as the messaging radius is up to 200 metres.
Best for privacy conscious users
It is very useful in times of poor connectivity so many use the app at festivals when signal is scrambled by large crowds. It also found use during the Hong Kong umbrella revolution and during the heavy rainfall in Kashmir in March. It is also attractive to those concerned with privacy as it is very difficult to hack meaning spies, wicked men or even governments trying to prevent free speech are unable to look at conversations.
A spokesperson of the company said "unlike traditional networks or Google and Facebook endeavours to expand the reach of the internet via satellites, drones and ballons, our networking model does not require capital and scales up infinitely".