October 28, 2011

HipChat – A Cooler Way to Collaborate

Say goodbye to kitschy usernames and distracting ads. HipChat is an instant messaging application that does away with many of the features that make apps like AIM, Google Talk, and Skype too cumbersome for professional use. Ideally suites for small to medium size businesses, HipChat is an instant messaging service that lets colleagues transfer files and collaborate in real-time chat rooms from any web browser or mobile device.

Before you can start sharing ideas and files with colleagues online, you’ll have to sign up for HipChat. The app itself is set up to mimic the traditional office, which is why every new user who signs in starts off on the Lobby page. From the lobby, you can enter any of the open rooms. HipChat rooms serve as virtual conference rooms – similar to chat rooms – where colleagues can collaborate with each other in real time. Private rooms are also available for sensitive discussions and meetings with clients. One-on-one conversations can be conducted over private instant messages. HipChat messages will show up on user’s screen even if he or she is using a different application at the time, which makes it easier to get a hold of people who may be otherwise occupied.

In addition to facilitating both group discussions and private meetings, HipChat allows for easy file sharing and document storage. The application runs on Macs, Windows, and Linux, as well as the iPhone, iPad, and Android, and users can even conduct IM conversations via SMS. When questions do arise, HipChat users are invited to get in touch with the app’s 24/7 customer support or research the answer directly by checking out a community-powered help center.

Practical Uses:

  • Conduct conference meetings in a virtual environment
  • Collaborate on projects with remote workers
  • Share important files work files and images with colleagues
  • Communicate with clients without picking up the phone

Insider Tips:

  • Guest access is available for a company’s clients
  • Video and voice chats are available for users with webcams
  • HipChat offers automatic spell checking on all messages
  • Users can get their colleague’s attention by including their name in an @mention

What we liked:

  • All chats and file histories are archived
  • HipChat is accessible on a number of mobile devices
  • Group chat rooms can be made private
  • Ability to customize notifications like sounds, flashes, and pop-ups

What we didn’t like:

  • Nothing


Company Info:

  • Launched: 2009
  • Privately Held
  • Founded by: Garret Heaton, Pete Curley, and Chris Rivers
  • Web site:


  • Basic plan is $9/month
  • Plus plan is $24/month
  • Premium plan is $49/month
  • Ultimate plan is $99/month
  • Enterprise plan with custom pricing


  1. I’ve trialled HipChat before and found it to be very easy to use. We didn’t continue with it beyond the one month trial as the specific project we needed it for only lasted 2 weeks.

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