Skype has announced today that it is to acquire GroupMe, a mobile group messaging service. The news comes following the earlier acquisition of the mobile video provider Qik earlier this year.
The GroupMe platform provides text-based messaging and uses “innovative features” that enable users to share photos and locations as well as send communications to more than one person at a time.
The move “augments Skype’s role as an innovator in driving unique mobile user experiences.”
“Skype and GroupMe have a shared vision of creating applications and experiences that are the daily communications choice for a billion people. We will continue to seek the top talent and technology to make that vision a reality,” said Tony Bates, Skype’s Chief Executive Officer.
“The GroupMe team has created an incredibly sticky group messaging experience that works across mobile devices and platforms, making this a perfect addition to the voice, video and text products in the Skype family,” he added.
“There is a natural affinity between Skype and GroupMe and our goal is to continue developing tools that make it easier for people to communicate, share, and stay in touch with their close and important ties,” said Jared Hecht, GroupMe’s Co-Founder.
This new feature comes at a time when competition is fierce. Not only has Facebook recently rolled out a new chat system that includes group messaging, but Google too has included it as a main feature on its new social networking site. Blackberry users already enjoy the function.
The terms of the deal have not been specified but it is not thought to have affected the $8.5 billion deal that Skype secured with Microsoft back in May, when the latter signed a deal to acquire the popular VoIP software.
GroupMe is already available as a stand-alone application, it works on any device and is free to download.