texting2Americans fired off 110 billion text messages in December 2008, almost doubled from the 48 billion the same month in 2007, according to a recent report from the Census Bureau. Taking advantage of the rise in texting, Gogii announced today that its popular iPhone and iPod Touch group texting application textPlus has arrived in the Android Market.

Seeing almost 3.5 million downloads between the iPhone and iPod Touch to date, the newly released Android application will leverage sponsor-supported free and unlimited messaging both for traditional one-to-one as well as group texting. The Android application allows for up to 20 “friends” to join a conversation and users can either pull them from existing contacts or through adding phone numbers manually.  Once a conversation has begun, all members are able to reply all and receive messages from anyone included. If your invitees aren’t using textPlus, it isn’t a problem – the messages will be sent to them as regular texts and charges will apply as usual. It’s important to check with your carrier on what text plan you are currently using – without unlimited, this service could get expensive.

The service supports most major US carriers including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. Sorry if you’re using MetroPCS or Cricket, you’re out of luck. Gogii notes that text addresses, used for devices that aren’t phones — such as the iPod touch — will be coming soon. A feature that could be very useful for devices running the Android system such as the first in home Android device – Vega.

Other services for group texting are available, but don’t include the ability for the whole group to see each others responses and interact like a chat room. These services are more one-to-many type services for reaching a large group of people. One of these services is Tatango, which allows users to send a single or multiple texts to a specific generated group. The service provides an easy user interface and respectable pricing. The basic package is $19 per month and includes 400 messages, along with two keywords — which are used by users to text and join a specific community. Premium package for Tatango will run you $199 per month and include 5,000 messages and 10 keywords. An ideal service for a company looking to reach a bunch of different groups and send a high frequency of messages.

Gogii recently announced $8.2 million in additional financing backed by top tier venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Matrix Partners led the new round.

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