Facebook has just acquired Beluga, the group messaging service started by three ex-Google employees. Current users of Beluga will still be able to use the service for the time being as Facebook plans to keep it alive as a standalone service, but be ready for that to go away as Facebook finally integrates the technology. Unlike most Facebook acquisitions the deal is for both the talent and the technology behind Beluga.
Beluga lets users set up “pods” of friends where they can chat and message one another. The service works on your computer and on your phones. Beluga will send you notifications of the messages sent that may look like a text message, but it isn’t. It doesn’t use your text messages because the messaging and chatting is done over data. It looks like a large chatroom and everyone can see the messages sent and scroll up for older messages.
The deal makes good sense for Facebook as it has both a messaging service and allows users to make its own groups, so Beluga’s technology will combine those very nicely. The mobile functionality Beluga brings will definitely help Facebook keep friends connected with each other through the social network. If you’re a current user of Beluga your account and data will still be there, but once it migrates over to Facebook it will probably all be gone, so be ready.