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Exploring Beejive 3.1: managing meta and multi-user chats on the iPhone

Beejive

I’m probably not the best person to test this feature out because I barely ever participate in group chats, but seeing as Beejive is such a kickass instant messaging platform, I thought it would be worth exploring how they handled multi-user and meta chats in their latest 3.1 update. Overall, I’d say the meta-user chatting is a great addition to the app and finally makes linking a contact to a contact card, but group chats could definitely be a little more accessible.

Meta chats

One of the consequences of having friends in these modern times is the hassle of managing instant messages with the same person across different platforms. There’s little point in keeping two separate chats (one on Gtalk, one on MSN) with my friend Psycho if I can just combine everything we say to each other and file it all under his name. This is exactly what Beejive does with meta chats, and all you need to do activate it is link specific IM accounts to a contact in your addresss book. Just beware that if you’re on an Exchange contact system then you might find yourself re-linking contact cards if there’s ever a problem with your Exchange server.

snapshot-1257271085.098422

The great thing about this meta implementation is that you can choose which chats you’d like to keep under one umbrella, and which you’d like to keep separate. Beejive isn’t forcing meta chats down your throat in the same way Palm forces Synergy onto its users. This is especially useful if you’d like to keep the chat histories for different accounts separate, so if you’re discussing pure business with your friend on a Gtalk account but two hours of “lolcatz” links on MSN, you can keep the garbage out of a chat history that you may well want to refer to later on. Meta chats also just make Beejive a much cleaner interface.

I’d say the only thing that might take a little getting used to is choosing which IM account to message in a meta chat. Instead of simply tapping on a name in the contact list, you’ll have to tap on the arrow on the right. You’ll then be taken to a contact screen where you can tap on the IM service you’d like to message. This can also be done from within an actual chat with a contact: just tap on the display picture on the top-right.

Group Chats

One of the interesting things about the Beejive group chats is that they also work with clients that don’t support group chats. I haven’t been able to test a group chat with other Beejive users (I don’t know any :P), but I did rally two pals using Gtalk desktop clients. If you’ve used Gtalk then you know that the native client doesn’t support group chats, but we got around this thanks to Beejive. Inviting them (via the “+” button in the Chats tab) issued a link that launched a browser-based chat. My friends were prompted to log in and then we chatted for approximately three seconds before I proclaimed  “Got my info! kthxbai!” and left.

beejive group chat

As for how group chats appear from outside, the Chat tab simply said “Psycho, et al”. I’m pretty sure I’m not friends with Et Al, so I’m guessing it’s not a bug 😉 All in all, I’d call this another solid update from Beejive!

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  • Et al is, correct me if I’m wrong, latin for “and others”. It’s common in academia to reference the work of a group of authors by the first author’s last name, et al.

    Your version of Beejive looks very different from mine. I’m guessing you’ve got some jailbroken winterboard theme?

    • you're totally right about that, I just found it funny to suddenly find something I used in a bibliography cropping up in my IM app.

      as for the bottom bar, that would be Matte UI Graphite via Winterboard, right again 😀 Also skins pop-ups, iPod app, sliders, and a heck of a lot of other aspects of the iPhone. No icons, though — you'll need Matte Nano for that.

  • Ivan Williams

    As of late, I've been rather made at BeeJive. Various reasons really, whether it be disconnecting my account, or not delivering my messages, or showing someone as not available when clearly (since they are standing next to me), they are.

    Nonetheless, I'm yet to find a good solid IM application for the iPhone. WhatsApp is close, very close. They now just need the 'chat' feature enabled between iPhones & Blackberry. I think with that done, we could have a winner. But, until then, I'll have to revert to TextSMS messages. It seems to be solid, and consistent.

    Oh, on a side note, BeeJive support leaves a lot to be desired. I'm just saying…

    • That's definitely surprising to hear because aside from a few days when iPhone 3.0 was first released, I haven't had any major problems with Beejive connections or chats. I log on near-instantly, but I only use MSN and Gtalk.

      I'm curious, though, what else would you like in Beejive?

      • Ivan Williams

        Oh, wait, don’t get me wrong, I like BeeJive, just tired of some of the issues I’ve had of late.
        I would like a read notification of sorts. Like an ‘r’ or something near a message. And, this is only because of late sometimes my messages just completely fail.

        One thing I’ve never been able to figure out is why from time to time my contact(s) would appear offline, when they are not. And, sometimes I’m there with them and can see that they are not. I wonder if it’s just the way Beejive communicates with other devices.. Hmm…

        I think the other main thing is, since I’ve been a Blackberry user for so long, the consistency of Blackberry Messenger has been so good, I’m looking for the same in an IM app like BeeJive 🙂

        • I think I get what you're saying – I have much the same experience with Skype. Stupid, stupid Skype! 😀

  • Ivan Williams

    Last night I installed the latest version of BeeJive. I'll be testingusing it today, and the rest of this week. Let's see how it holds up…