During their lengthy careers at Google in both senior technical and product management roles, Maneesh Arora and Amit Sangani were able to geek out on products like AdSense, AdWords, and the now-defunct Google Health. Arora tells us that, while his time at Google was defined by smart people and ambitious ideas like these, in development there was often a tendency to “over engineer” without thinking about “the average user.” He said that, while Google employees always had Gchat open and used Google Voice (or Wave while it was still alive), none of these products were able to effectively address the true value prop of communication tools for a mainstream audience: Syncing. Especially when it comes to texting.
Arora says simply, “To me, it makes no sense that I have to have my phone in front of me to communicate … If I leave it in another room, or in the car, or at home, I essentially have to retrieve it to see who is calling or to receive incoming texts.” So, Arora and Sangani set out on a mission to give Android users the ability to view and reply to text messages no matter what device they happened to be using. After several months of beta testing, the duo are today officially launching MightyText — an app that aims to give Android users their own version of Apple’s iMessage.
After introducing as Texty in March 2011, the startup re-branded as MightyText in June. Since then, it’s been more or less in beta and available exclusively as a Chrome extension. Though, the Chrome extension has found some very solid early acceptance, attracting over 250K users, who used to send more than 2 million messages daily. What’s more, Arora says that at the current run rate they are on target to hit one billion messages.
As a Chrome extension, MightyText had quite a limited use case, so today, the co-founders are launching their new web app, which lets any Android user send and receive SMSes from virtually any device. While the co-founders have been describing their apps as “Gmail meets iMessage,” Arora thinks that MightyText has the potential to be more “open” and powerful than iMessage, which really only works between Apple users. Instead, MightyText lets Android users sent text to anyone they would normally text, whether they are on Android, iPhone, Blackberry, or even a feature phone.