With the Internet, time most certainly does speed up and it appears to now be possible for something to become big without the US even knowing about it – well, at least I had never heard of it before. I am talking about a new instant message service. What, you say? That is rather yesterday isn’t it? Well, I have to admit, I am amazed that anyone buys a texting plan anymore – I mean come on – SMS uses out of band data that costs the telcos almost nothing and they charge a hefty premium for the service and if you don’t subscribe, they charge you idiotic rates when someone sends you a text message which you have no ability to block. This service should have been dead a long time ago and it probably survived as long as it did because of the initial tie between Apple and AT&T. But those days are gone. Everyone now has the possibility to text using data services and there are plenty of apps out there for it. Lets face it, most of the time we don't even need a voice plan either, but they are not going to stop charging us a lot of money every month for access to their app to do the same thing.
So, I was surprised to hear about a new text messaging app called Line, that comes to us from South Korea. This is a country where Google does not run the search industry, instead led by NHN Corp, who released their texting app in June 2011. By December 2011 they had 11 million users and just the other day they announced 100 million users – a growth rate well in excess of Twitter, Facebook and other web apps. Agreed, they are still behind on numbers, but this growth rate is still surprising.
In many respects, this looks very similar to Skype in that it offers texts between mobiles and PCs, and voice calls to any connected device. Skype also offers incoming and outgoing calls to POTS and other phones not running the app, a service that Line does not appear to have yet. However, Line appears to have some social networking capabilities as well and some of the abilities of Twitter.
So, to me this is a clear indication that the Internet is no longer being led by the US, as it was for many years. The Internet has truly become a global resource and will enable countries around the world to do things the way that they want and not the way we tell them to.
I haven't tried it yet, but if you have let us know what you think?
Available for Android, iOS (iPhone and PC) and Windows.Brian Bailey
– keeping you covered
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