With the ongoing protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), and Internet shutdown in several areas in Delhi, the Bridgefy app has suddenly gained popularity. Bridgefy is essentially an offline messaging app that uses a mesh system to communicate with people near you, instead of relying on the Internet. It uses Bluetooth to connect with people nearby and form a network so that you can communicate even when you’re offline. CAA protestors have been recommending Bridgefy on Twitter so that communication is possible even in times when there is no Internet. Of course, even if you are not part of the protests, but have been affected by the shutdown, Bridgefy appears to be a useful tool to maintain communications.
There are three ways Bridgefy works:
By using Bluetooth, smartphones can connect over a range of 330 feet (100 meters), like this:
This is a considerable distance, especially when you’re at a crowded music festival, at a sports stadium, or out hiking.
One-To-One Long Distance
You can chat over even larger distances, as long as there are more Bridgefy users between you and the person you want to reach, like this:
These “hops”, also called a mesh network, can go on indefinitely! The people in the middle don’t have access to your messages, have to perform any action whatsoever or have to be in your contacts list.
Another cool feature is found within your Bridgefy app, on the “Broadcast” tab. Once you’re inside this chat room, you’ll be able to text with anybody around you that are also using the Bridgefy app, even if they’re not on your contacts list! It’s great for natural disasters, sharing information during a music concert, or at a sports game. You can automatically connect with up to 6–7 people at a time. It works like this:
The interesting bit is the broadcast group that lets you chat with several people nearby, even if they are not on your contact list. This app is being advocated by protesters for the purpose of important announcements through this broadcast feature that will enable communication even in the event of Internet shutdowns. Apart from Internet shutdowns by the government, this app is useful in the event of natural calamities like earthquakes or being lost in a public gathering. Other apps that offer similar services are FireChat and Briar.
Of course, in the case of the Delhi Internet shutdown, government authorities ordered Airtel, Vodafone Idea, Reliance Jio and other operators to shut down voice, mobile data, and SMS services in certain parts of Delhi. If you’re affected by the shutdown, the service can be quite useful.
For more tutorials visit our How to section.