Talking tech since 2003

If you don’t know what Tumblr is, then you’re probably not under 30.  It’s a popular hangout among 20-something’s and is growing rapidly.  The site, which lets users start their own blogs, has now reached the 100 million blog count and is starting to overthrow Facebook in its popularity among the younger crowd.  So it’s no surprise that a new app, Babblr, is taking advantage of its API by allowing users to chat instantaneously through the blog platform.

Currently, Tumblr only allows users to follow blog posts and send mail through the “Send Fan Mail” option.  But with Babblr, currently in Beta, users can correspond with each other in real-time and set up groups.  The chat tool was developed by Trevor Clarke, Brandon Sowers, and Brett Williams, who were frustrated with not being able to chat instantly with their combined 700,000 Tumblr followers.

In the beginning, Babblr will only work on Google Chrome’s web browser, but co-founder Brandon Sowers says they hope to expand it to other sites and platforms.

“The iOS app is in the making; our goal is to show people a really good chat function, so if people want it for other networks and other groups like Pinterest and other social networks – we can do that.  That’s our plan,” Sowers said.

The beta version of Babblr is pretty straightforward.  You download the extension onto Chrome, and once you grant Babblr access to your Tumblr account, your contacts are uploaded to a chat list that is divided into “Groups,” “Following,” and “Followers.”  The Settings allow you to turn alert sounds on and off.  One of its unique features is that is has a censorship function so it turns swear words into silly words.  For example, f*#! is turned into “fudge.”


The app is available for download now and if users sign up before May 7th, they get Babblr for free (which over 26,000 users have already done).  After that, users will have the ability to download the app by either choosing a price or socially sharing with friends.  Basically, the company says it’s the first pay-what-you-want app for Google Chrome extension, which means users can choose to pay 99 cents or more to use the app.  If they don’t want to pay, they can share it with friends, or do some free advertising for Babblr.

A rumor has been spreading that Babblr is a virus among the Tumblr community, but that rumor is false.  While Babblr is a third-party app and not run by Tumblr, it is not, in fact a virus.  I can vouch for that.

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