|Operating system||Mac, Linux, Windows, Android, iOS + Web-based application)|
|Type||Hosted chat and instant messaging for teams and enterprises|
HipChat is a Web service for internal/private chat and instant messaging. As well as one-on-one and group/topic chat, it also features cloud-based file storage, video calling, searchable message history and inline image viewing. HipChat is available to download onto computers running Windows, Mac or Linux, as well as Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. HipChat is currently based on a freemium model, as much of the service is free with some additional features requiring organizations to pay $2 per user per month.
Having launched in January 2010, HipChat was founded by Chris Rivers, Garret Heaton and Pete Curley, the trio behind HipCal and Plaxo Pulse. HipChat was later acquired by Atlassian in March 2012.
HipChat has surpassed the billion message mark and has entered a cycle of exponential growth, as the number of messages has doubled every few months. As of January 2014, it was estimated that the service handles 60 messages per second and boasts 1.2 billion messages stored and half a terabyte of searchable data. HipChat is mainly written in PHP and Python using the Twisted framework, but features an extensive platform that utilizes numerous third-party services.
HipChat was started by Chris Rivers, Garret Heaton and Pete Curley, who studied together at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). They launched the first beta on December 13, 2009. HipChat was made available to the public starting January 25, 2010.
On March 22, 2010, HipChat launched a web chat beta which allowed users to chat via the browser in addition to the existing Windows, Mac and Linux client. HipChat's web client came out of beta and SMS chat support was added on April 16, 2010. On May 12, 2010, HipChat unveiled its official API.
On July 19, 2010, the team moved out of their dining room and into a dedicated office in Sunnyvale, CA. Co-founder Pete Curley announced that HipChat had secured $100,000 in funding on August 10, 2010. They had previously relied primarily on word-of-mouth, so this round of seed funding allowed them to kick-start an advertisement campaign, in addition to covering operational costs.
The primary features of HipChat are chat rooms, one-on-one messaging, searchable chat history, image sharing, 5 GB of file storage, and SMS messaging for one-on-one conversations. A plus version ($2 per user/month) adds video calling, screen sharing, unlimited file storage, history retention controls, and a virtual machine version allows HipChat to run within corporate firewalls. HipChat also features a guest access mode that allows users outside of your organization to join your group chat via a shareable URL, inline GIF playback, and custom emoticons. The product is available as a mobile client, a web client and a downloadable native application.
In addition to integration with Atlassian's other products, HipChat integrates with popular services such as GitHub, MailChimp and Heroku. To allow for more third-party integrations to be added, HipChat features a REST API and numerous language specific implementations. As of 2016, HipChat can be integrated with over 100 other tools.
As of May 27, 2014, HipChat can provide administrators 1-to-1 chat histories if the customer's company policies permit viewing of employee communications. There is no way for an individual or organization to opt out of this data collection/exposure.
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- HipChat TOS update, April 25, 2014
- YCombinator discussion