Startup hopes Web tech will mean faster foothold for IM

Chorus.im offers traditional mobile apps, but it's the browser interface it hopes will give it attention in a crowded market.

The W3C's new HTML5 logo stands for more than just the HTML5 standard.
The W3C's new HTML5 logo stands for more than just the HTML5 standard. W3C

Developers these days are obsessed with mobile apps, but a startup called Chorus.im hopes the Web will be its entree into a new instant-messaging market.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company is using various Web standards to try to build an IM service that works in people's browsers. The new generation of Web technologies for Web apps is often called HTML5. Although the company offers mobile apps for iOS and Android, too, the Web approach can be convenient since people can launch it just by pointing a browser at a Web site.

And indeed, that's how it works when people are getting started. To invite a contact to use the service, a person can send an e-mail or text message that includes a link that opens in the browser.

The communication technology beneath is a "proprietary one based loosely on the Web Socket protocol," Chief Executive Steve Tran told CNET. "Also, we are developing a VoIP group-calling feature using WebRTC that will be launched in the future."

No matter the technological underpinnings, though, Chorus.im has a big challenge before it. There are innumerable messaging services available today from big companies such as Facebook and Google and from specialists such as WhatsApp, and persuading people to switch isn't easy.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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