LAUNCH: Campfire, easy group chat for business 16 Feb 2006
212 comments Latest by Lewis Chuba
Today we officially announce the launch of Campfire, our simple real-time web-based group chat tool for business. We’ve been using it internally for the last 45 days or so and it’s become the most important collaboration tool we have. We hope you’ll find it equally useful.
Some keys to Campfire
- Every chat has a permanent URL — just like a web page or a blog post
- Campfire chats don’t require special chat software or networks
- Campfire chats are persistent — the rooms are always open and when you return you can catch up on the conversation you missed
- You can instantly share and discuss files with your colleagues/clients
- Upload a gif, jpg, png, or PDF and get a live preview of the image inline — it’s fantastic for discussing a mock-up or logo or design in real-time
- You can search or browse through transcripts of past chats.
- Campfire also offers secure chat over SSL (Plus and Premium plans)
The first question we get is “How is this different or better than instant messaging?” so we’ve prepared a page about why Campfire is better for group chat than conventional instant messaging.
If you know what IRC is then you can think of Campfire as IRC that anyone can set-up and use. If you don’t know what IRC is then you’re in the massive majority which is one of the reasons we built Campfire. The concept of IRC is strong, but the implementation of IRC is techie, confusing, and strange. Campfire drastically simplifies the concept of the persistent chat room and puts it in a web browser so everyone can use it.
At this time Campfire does not integrate with Basecamp on a deep level (but since chats have permanent URLs you can just post a chat URL to a project if you want to have chats about a project). We will be considering tighter integration later this year. We wanted to nail the basic product first. We also believe Campfire has a much broader appeal than just to people who use Basecamp — any group that collaborates on anything can use real-time group chat. And yes, an API for Campfire is planned.
We’ve put a lot of energy into this app and we’re really excited about it. We hope you find it valuable and useful. It’s our simplest product on the surface, but the most complex under the hood. It was definitely a great learning experience and special thanks to Sam and Marcel for their magic. It was quite a first project to tackle!
So, have at it.
UPDATE: Join us in the Signal vs. Noise room.