AppChat is an Android app that automatically makes a chat room for every app you have installed. People used it to get help with apps, compare high scores, and upload screenshots. AppChat was built in a week, launched on reddit and went straight to the front page where it had over 10,000 downloads in the first two days. Click here to see the original product site.
Anybody Got Any Good Contacts?
What happens when you let everyone using the same app suddenly talk to each other? Well, it gets a bit nuts. In Spotify chat people recommend albums, in Kindle chat they were suggesting books, and in calculator chat almost every screenshot featured the numbers 8008135 for some reason. Somebody started an infinitely recursive screenshot in the AppChat chat (yes there’s an app chat for app chat and it has infinite screenshots of app chat). People were trading their contacts in Contacts chat, discussing battery tips in the Settings area and comparing high scores in a bunch of different games. The whole thing was pretty awesome.
Could This Be a Real Thing?
After the initial rush of users and novelty posts, there was a sense that the app could be something more and potentially a very valuable connection between developers and their users. We decided to go for it and added a bunch of requested functionality in the three weeks after launch. Stuff like:
Device Chat: Talk with other people who own the same phone as you.
Wallpaper Chat: Automatically share your phone's wallpaper when you change it so people can get an endless source of new backgrounds for their homescreen.
User Profiles: Let other people see what phone you have and what your most used apps are.
Verified Developers: We developed a way for people to prove that they were the developer of an app. We then gave them a special badge in their chat room and moderator controls over it's content. The developer would automatically get notified if you simply mentioned @dev in a chat room. We would even email the developer on your behalf if they weren't an AppChat user yet.
Trending Apps List: Find out new apps to download based on the ones people are discussing the most.
At that point it looked something like this:
Unfortunately as we were rapidly iterating on the product, we were losing user activity. There was a hardcore group of fans who used it every day, but we weren't being discovered by many new users. We experimented with an IRC chat bridge and badges for subreddits, but none of it had enough of an effect to continue the project. Ultimately it was a super fun and useful experiment, but not a viable long term product. You can read more detail about AppChat's development in these blog posts.