Social Enterprise

Addappt's new messaging feature tapp helps trim down communications

Brevity is the soul of messaging these days. The new tapp feature from address book app Addappt plays into that trend.

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Image: addappt

"K."

You could hardly get more granular in your communication than this one-letter affirmative response.

It's minimal but effective (as long as the brevity won't offend your great aunt or whoever).

For app addappt, efficient, lightweight messaging that eliminates unnecessary back-and-forth, and eliminates the storage of messages, is their latest offer via a new feature called tapp.

addappt originally launched as an address book app (which it still is) going off the idea that the way people keep contacts, even in this modern age is pretty archaic. A decade or two ago, people were carrying physical address books. When a friend would move or get a new phone number, they'd have to let everyone know and all those contacts would have to scratch out the old information and replace it.

CEO and former business development manager at LinkedIn, Mrinal Desai, said that's essentially the same action in use today, except instead of scratching out a phone number in a notebook, people manually replace the info on their phone's contacts list.

So, addappt automatically updates contact info for you, based on the info stored in your contact's profiles. If Desai changes his email address on his own contact profile, his contacts get the update.

addappt 2.0 comes with a new interface and features like favorites and recents, but the big addition to the app is tapp. Tapp is a lightweight messaging tool that lets users create and send canned messages (up to 100 characters) — things like 'on my way,' or rather 'OMW,' or maybe even an emoji car with a plume of smoke behind it, if that's your style — and send them with a tap.

Messages sent on tapp disappear quickly since they're merely notifications.There are no threads, and none of the messages are stored on Addappt's servers.

"You send it once, you see it, it's done," Desai said.

Messages take up no space, and the notifications eat up very little data.

Prominent at the top of the tapp interface are emoji, sorted by usage. After all, 2014's word of the year wasn't actually a word, but the heart emoji.

What this speaks to is a move toward a different type of messaging, one where users only really send what they need to, and with relative ease.

One inspiration for tapp is the "missed call phenomenon" in India. In the past several years, in order to conserve money and minutes, folks in India have been calling each other and hanging up as a way of touching base, via the missed call notification.

A missed call can signify anything from "call me back" to a simple "hello." And Desai said it's gotten to the point where an estimated 50-60% of the country is doing it.

Stateside, app Yo exploded over the summer as people tried to discern the value and purpose of an app that only lets users send a two-letter message.

And in some regard, the Facebook "Like" functions as a minimal method of acknowledging that users have seen something, or even that they're just still there.

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Desai, left, with CTO and co-founder Jorge Ferreira, and principal deveoper, founding team, Carlos Brito
Image: addappt

If a person trying to tell a friends they've arrived somewhere or they're thinking of them, maybe one character is all they need.

Another part of tapp, though only on iOS for now, is the ability to create groups. Also, there are no BCCs or CCs, so if a user sends a greeting to five different people at once, it arrives as if it were sent individually. That means no "reply all."

At the moment, addappt is geared to consumers — family, neighbors, friends. Desai said there are plenty of ways it could be put to use in a business setting, especially for small businesses — conference call reminders, a request for expertise, or even a heads up that the Wi-Fi is down.

"Everybody today who has a phone, has an address book, so we don't try to say 'we're for work' or 'just for teenagers.' Anybody with a phone needs to have an address book," he said. If the demand surfaces, he said, they haven't written off the possibility of adding premium features for the enterprise.

Plus, the ability to maintain correct contact information and unobtrusively ping contacts is solid business use, Desai said.

"As we all know about work, it's a lot about who you know and the relationships you maintain over time," he said.

For addappt, going forward means gradually growing the user base. Desai said that while it could be easy to snag info from users' contacts and spam them, it wouldn't be ethical. No information from users' contacts is stored on Addappt servers.

"We've chosen not to because that's not the way we've chosen to use the app," he said.

This year they plan on adding other premium features on top of the free app. One he mentioned might be weather.

"Weather is a common icebreaker when you have a phone call or a conversation with somebody," he said, "so we're hoping to add something like that."

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About Erin Carson

Erin Carson is a Staff Reporter for CNET and a former Multimedia Editor for TechRepublic.

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