Beeper the universal chat app using Matrix protocol

Recently, I published my impressions about the Texts app and how well it addresses the chat apps market fragmentation. Which is especially crucial for digital nomads and our international outreach. Automattic, who acquired Texts in October 2023, just six months later bought another chat aggregator called Beeper. There’s more to that story.

Matrix open protocol and chat app called Element

Back in May 2020, Automattic invested $4.6M in New Vector to back Matrix. It’s an exciting protocol that can be used for self-hosted end-to-end encrypted chat and file sharing. Think of it like Slack on your own server. The chat app using the Matrix protocol is called Element, and one of the brave ideas was to develop a WordPress plugin that allows for chat between web viewers and web owners. Similar to Facebook Messenger but using open-source standards and E2E encryption.

We’re very excited to announce that Automattic, the creator of WordPress, is making a $4.6M strategic investment in New Vector in order to back the Matrix ecosystem – effectively extending our Series-A round from October!

From blog post

Beeper the chat using Matrix protocol

While Element has been successfully deployed in many institutions, especially in Germany, it hasn’t been adopted by the mass market. Beeper also didn’t become a thing, however Automattic bets that it might be.

Already in June 2020, Eric Migicovsky Beeper CEO wrote a chat manifesto where he points out the problem:

In general, there are two distinct types of people:

Siloed — People who only use one chat network (eg iMessage) and force other people to use their preferred network in order to get in touch with them.

Ambi-social — These folks use many chat networks, have 5+ chat apps on their phone, need to keep track of which friends are on which network so they know how to contact them.

With the $125M purchase offered by Automattic, the Beeper app became publicly available. Previously it was by invitation only. Therefore, Eric’s idea now becomes a widely available solution.

Beeper v Texts what’s the difference and what comes next?

The Beeper desktop app offers a similar onboarding flow like Texts, and once it’s set you can use the mobile app, something that Texts lacks. Although, Texts offers password protection, better UI and OpenAI integration, i.e. for voice-to-text conversion from any app. Then there’s name and branding. In that domain, Texts is just too generic, and therefore Automattic will only keep the Beeper name.

Still, both apps currently don’t support Telegram Groups that contain multiple channels and there are other minor bugs. Moreover, the pricing is inconsistent. While Texts costs between $5 to $30 per month, Beeper is free. The Beeper site states that the paid plan is optional, but there’s no pricing page. We should expect changes in the pricing policy very soon.

Regardless, I’m excited to experience this dynamic development in the domain that’s important to me. These aggregators already save a lot of time, and I’m confident that the future releases will improve the UI and offer the best bits in one streamlined app that works across different devices.

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