I've been using Beluga for a more general purpose lately. Now I think I have a better view on the platform.

It seems to tackle one of RIM's BlackBerry unique selling points, BlackBerry Messenger. BBM is an instant messaging platform which allows PIN to PIN messaging to take place, which requires both users to have an active network connection and a BlackBerry itself. This means that it's user base, and in my mind therefore usefulness, is limited. Out of all my contacts I only have 5 people's BBM. Pathetic, right?

Yet with Beluga, within days of starting to spread the word I met this number, and beat it. Why? Because it's open. Whatever platform, so long as you have a network connection (or internet) you are able to use Beluga. You don't need to worry or pester them for a PIN, a phone number or email address is sufficient. This allows you to communicate in close to real time with a group. This is very well thought out in comparison to BlackBerry.

You can share photos, like on BBM, however you can also choose to show your location upon sending a message. The web client is a little limited in this functionality for the moment, which is a shame as it is my sole access to it, while they work on a BlackBerry version - once this is released I'll write a little more. Another feature, readily available on the Mobile apps is to set the time of a pod. Potentially for a meeting I imagine.

I hear there are a few teething problems with notifications for pods on the mobile apps (i.e. you can't select which you receive notifications for). It being at a relatively infant stage I'm sure these things will be sorted. You can still suggest features yourself.

If you still don't have a clue what this is, just give Beluga a try. You'll need to know someone else first to see how it is, but you can have your own pod all to yourself if you so wish.