App review: Get a room (and chat)

App review: Get a room (and chat)
Banter is a return to the days of the old school chat room, where not everybody knows your name, but they know what interests you.

We've seen a swag of messaging apps of late, from the traditional kind that feed your news to selected mates, to image and video-based versions.

The recently-released Banter app, free for Android users, comes at an opportune time, given rising paranoia over cyber-privacy.

It takes social conversation back to the days of the chat room, when you adopted a name that sounded more like a password and entered a virtual space full of people who cared about the same things as you.

It's a different approach from that of most social sites today, where people usually know at least your name, where you live, where you studied, who you know and can see a photo or two of your live events.

With Banter, once you've created an account you can follow chats by topics of interest, including featured rooms. The real-time conversations are shown in a chat stream, with text, images and video, displayed by time of post.

The ability to chat one to one or in private 'rooms' in a group will naturally attract users more interested in a date than in learning more about something. But you can manage your profile to see who's made a contact request and add and remove contacts.

And sharing your location to chat with those near you is strictly optional.