Co-founder & CEO of Open Garden Micha Benoliel demonstrated on stage to us how their new product Firechat makes people always connected. Based in San Francisco, Open Garden is best known for its network sharing apps. This time, its chat app allows people who are near each other message in group chats even without internet or cell access – allegedly the first of its sort in the world.

As such, Firechat could be a crowd favorite at dense events like TechCrunch Beijing. Benoliel said that app developers in particular will benefit from Firechat, which makes apps always connected. This means more user time on apps and for the entire industry.

The app is built upon the idea of “peer-to-peer mesh networking.” Enabled by wifi and Bluetooth, Firechat listens out for other phones running the same app nearby. With enough phones in the vicinity, a “mesh” is built up, and phones can talk to each other even without a central server.

Firechat topped the app stores in 15 countries shortly after its launch, according to Benoliel.

Telling the uncommon China stories through tech. I can be reached at ritacyliao [at] gmail [dot] com.

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