The Best Group Text Messaging Tools

For Android and Apple and desktop

Much more so than email, text message and mobile devices follow people everywhere. 'Bite-sized' communications follow people into classrooms, meetings, on cycling and running trips, and even into the bathroom. If you want your group of volunteers or athletes or club members to stay in touch, group text messaging will reach them before email will. If need be, you can also leave a group text.

01
of 04

GroupMe

GroupMe web site
What We Like
  • Clean interface

  • Calendar tool with reminders and attendance.

  • Easily handles groups of 2-75 members.

  • Supports the circulation of photos

What We Don't Like
  • The left navigation bar can feel cluttered.

  • The buzzing smartphone can become irritating.

  • No shared document authoring ability.

  • Does not handle multiple one-on-one conversations well.

GroupMe is an excellent tool because it is so easy to get started. If your group is not used to group text messaging, and you need to convince them to use it, then GroupMe is the easiest way to get them messaging one other.

The calendaring, desktop interface and photo-sharing are all accommodating in GroupMe. If you don't know how you'll use group text messaging, then start with GroupMe as your first experiment.

  • Free with some advertising.
  • Ideal for: Families; clubs, fraternities; sports teams; a group of travelers; dinner groups; social fun.
  • Platform:  Smartphone/tablet app and web-based interface are both available.
02
of 04

WhatsApp

WhatsApp web site
What We Like
  • Backed by Facebook.

  • Very popular.

  • Supports photos and videos

What We Don't Like
  • No desktop interface.

  • Cumbersome to create new groups

  • Limited file size.

WhatsApp is extremely popular across the world, so it can be easier to sell this tool to your group of users. However, it is the one app on this list that has no desktop interface, so you're confined to typing on your smartphone and tablet. It is also a tool that does charge a small fee for yearly subscription use.

If you're uncertain what tool to try for group text messaging, give GroupMe a test drive, and then try WhatsApp next.

  • Free for one year then a dollar per year after that.
  • Ideal for: Groups of personal friends; project groups of users who are very tech-savvy; people who don't mind keeping their messages confined to smartphones (i.e., no desktop messaging).
  • Platform: Android and Apple smartphone app, NO desktop.
03
of 04

Slack

Slack web site
What We Like
  • All content is searchable

  • File uploading/sharing features let you circulate documents

  • Shared authoring using the Posts feature

What We Don't Like
  • No native calendar for scheduling events.

  • You need to pay a subscription if you want to access the high-end Slack features

  • Unable to make private channels public.

Slack is a nice-looking group messaging tool that fits somewhere between a casual group and a professional project team.

If you don't need to manage critical deadlines and group workflows like tasks/updates/reminders/dates, then Slack is really a good option for its group and one-on-one conversation features. Shared documenting is helpful for some groups.

  • Free for basic features—$7/month if you want advanced features.
  • Ideal for: Volunteers; smaller project working groups who have an attentive administrator to steward the Google Calendar; groups who need to co-author documents together.
  • Platform: Smartphone/tablet app and web-based interface are both available.
04
of 04

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts web site
What We Like
  • Feature-rich.

  • Supports photos

  • Video conferences up to 10 people

What We Don't Like
  • Requires stable, relatively high bandwidth.

  • Limited controls.

  • Learning curve.

Google Hangouts is very powerful and offers both group text messaging and video/phone conferencing in one place. Subjectively, it doesn't quite have the intimate and warm 'feel' of GroupMe and Slack. It also requires enough computer-savvy to navigate between Google Hangouts, Google Drive, and Google Calendaring.

Google Hangouts is a powerful tool for a group of users who are more serious about their messaging and using multiple tools.

  • Free
  • Ideal for: Families/social/clubs/fraternities who want to do both group text messaging and video calling. It can be a useful tool for work teams spread across different cities, sophisticated users who are comfortable switching between Google tools like calendaring and Google Drive.
  • Platform: Smartphone/tablet app and web-based interface are both available.