There is no shortage of chat apps on the Play Store and iOS. WhatsApp, an instant messaging app, rose to popularity fast. Some others are just taking off: Signal and Telegram. Messenger from Facebook has been for long but did not get much acceptance from users as yet, even though it has been enhancing its features and adding more features. Let’s check out how they perform in this post.
WhatsApp vs Telegram vs Signal vs Messenger
Let’s start with WhatsApp as it is the most popular instant messaging app as of now that also supports audio and video calls using the Internet. Telegram is taking off and just behind Telegram is the Signal instant messaging app with a secure calling feature. Facebook Messenger is a different story altogether as you’ll read below.
1] WhatsApp: Popular but privacy issues
WhatsApp is people’s first choice for sending and receiving multimedia messages. Full of GIFs and emoticons, it enhanced the way people talk to each other.
People were using Facebook Messenger prior to WhatsApp. However, Facebook has privacy issues: It cannot be trusted, going by the recent data breaches. FB Messenger allows as many features as WhatsApp, but people don’t use it – because of its association with Facebook.
This is also the reason why people are turning away from WhatsApp. They are not sure of privacy after Facebook acquired WhatsApp at more than its worth. People eye it with suspicion as the money involved was too high for an app that did not have any revenue model. But it was worth purchasing at a whopping 16 billion Dollars because WhatsApp brought in data related to hundreds and millions of users. And as I said earlier, Facebook doesn’t have a good reputation when it comes to privacy.
The standard Short Message Service (SMS) was in use until WhatsApp came into the market. SMS services provided by telecom operators did not have any encryption facility, so people turned to WhatsApp. It promised End-to-End encryption and has interesting features like chat groups, broadcasts. But it was the acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook that turned the scales against WhatsApp. Reports emerged that some Israeli companies created a snooping malware that was keeping an eye on politicians and activists. Such news further confirms that WhatsApp is not as safe as it declares about itself.
In addition to chatting and texting, WhatsApp also provides features like voice and video calls on the Internet, saving on what users used to spend on telecom operator’s charges. People haven’t abandoned it yet, but I can say that a sizeable chunk of WhatsApp market share moved to Telegram and Signal for better privacy.
2] Telegram – Privacy and Flexibility
Telegram is a cross-platform Messaging App to send self-destructing, encrypted messages. I installed Telegram on my phone some six months ago. Since I used to get my news on WhatsApp and the feature was being discontinued, publishers of popular news websites asked users to move to the channels they created on Telegram. I haven’t removed WhatsApp from my phone as yet but prefer to use Telegram while discussing critical issues.
It is not that the Telegram app will always be the way it is now. All these days, people didn’t know of its presence and what it does. Now that they are exploring alternatives to WhatsApp.
The main features of the Telegram app are chats and voice calling. There is a bit of a learning curve there. Like the broadcast feature in WhatsApp, Telegram has “channels”. A channel is one-way broadcasting, perfect for publishers. Besides it also supports huge groups and one-on-one chats. The cap on each channel is around 200,000 users so that it can reach more people without compromising on privacy.
Telegram too has a set of emoticons and GIF search pages so that your conversations come alive. One of its best features is the ability for businesses to customize it as wanted and add bots there. Chatbots can be used with the Messenger API. Finally, Telegram promises that it won’t curb free speech, but it will sure take actions against channels that contribute anti-social feed to Telegram users. Plus, you can open and use Telegram on multiple devices at the same time, unlike other messengers.
3] Signal – Privacy at its best
Disappearing messages! You can set a timer to automatically remove your messages from all phones, the Signal network, and its servers. For example, if you set it to 10 minutes, each message you send will be removed from servers and your phones after 10 minutes of posting the message. Normally, Signal users keep it to three to five minutes. That way previous messages are removed so that there is no trace of any conversation whatsoever.
Like WhatsApp and Telegram, it also supports emoticons, GIFs, and groups. There is no option for broadcasting in Signal as of now. But it supports voice calling on the Internet.
4] Messenger – Popular but not acceptable
Other than the now-discontinued Google Chat app, people preferred FB Messenger before WhatsApp caught up. There are many good features in this messenger app: talk one to one, create a group and talk to the group, and sending attachments of any type using Messenger. The only issue with Facebook Messenger is that it belongs to the “Facebook” group. In addition, it allows various apps to interact with it using bots. Some publishers provide news and jokes etc. on demand, as seen in the image above.
While WhatsApp is immensely popular, it has faced security issues, as a result, more and more people are moving to alternatives like Telegram and Signal. If you are looking for a chat app that values your security & privacy, the Signal or Telegram are far better options. Facebook Messenger is good but not accepted as a means of chatting because of privacy issues that Facebook relates to. For those reasons, People are moving out of Facebook networks like Messenger and WhatsApp.
If you think I left out any feature in the post, please comment.