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GroupMe (Android) review: Serious group messaging with a fun side

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Also, GroupMe makes it difficult to delete old chats and leave groups. The home screen shows a list of all your groups, and if you want to clean up that space, you'll need to press and hold a conversation to hide it. That only hides it from the main screen and files it away into the archive folder in the menu. To delete the entire chat history, you'll need to open the group, navigate to settings, and choose "Clear chat history."

GIFs, memes, and more

With GroupMe you can send regular old text chat message,s but the fun really starts when you start exploring what else you can send with the app.

First, you can share photos from your phone in GroupMe. In any open chat, tap the paper clip attachment icon next to the text field. You'll see a menu where you can launch your camera or pick from recent images take with your phone. In this menu, you can also share your location.

A new feature added in version 5.0 of the app in May 2014, you can now send GIFs to your friends in your conversations. Open the attachment menu as if you're sharing a photo, and then tap "Media Search," which opens another menu where you can search the Web for photos, GIFs, and videos. When you send a GIF, it'll play on a loop in the chat thread.

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You can search for GIFs in GroupMe and then send them to your friends in a chat. Screenshots by Sarah Mitroff/CNET
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You can search for GIFs in GroupMe and then send them to your friends in a chat. Screenshots by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Another addition in version 5.0, you can also images you send by adding a text overlay to turn them into memes. To do that, either pick an image from your phone, or search for one in the media search menu. Once you select an image, tap the "Meme" button at the top of the photo. There you can add a text overlay, in all caps, to the top and/or bottom of the image, and send it to your friends to (hopefully) incite some laughter.

The app also comes equipped with seven packs of emoji, with about as much selection as you'll find in iOS and Android. However, GroupMe has personalized a lot of the emoji, so they are unique and fresh. For instance, one of the packs is school themed, with smilies holding a stack of books, dorm room bunk beds, and even Greek letters.

Final thoughts

The upside of GroupMe is that app gives you a dedicated space to chat with your friends, with a nice design and plenty of fun features. The downside is that your friends also need to be on GroupMe to get the best experience out of those features.

If your friends are all already on Facebook, Facebook Messenger makes it far easier to stay connected because you can send out messages to a group of people, and each person will get it whether they use the Facebook mobile apps or not, since they'll show up in their inbox on Facebook's website.

But if you can get all of your softball buddies, co-workers, or sewing-circle friends on GroupMe, it's a great way to stay connected and keep full history of your conversations.

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