Five apps are the favourites in the world, these being WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, Line and WeChat. All of these apps were released at a similar time, either in 2010 or 2011, so they have been around for a while.
WhatsApp is the most used, with over 1 billion users around the world. So many people use this app, it is easy to get connected with people as all you need is an internet connection. Facebook is not far behind these figures, and its usage is increasing every month due to the convenience of it being connected to the popular social media site.
So what can these different apps do?
Viber can be used on both iOS and Android phones and is free to set up and use. To log in, all you have to do is use your cell number, and the app will sync with your phone and automatically let you know which of your contacts also have accounts with the app. As well as text, the app also allows its users to send photos and videos; voice recorded messages, emoticons and stickers. There is an additional benefit to Viber in that it has a ‘Viber Out’ feature, which allows the user to call people that don’t have a Viber account for free, no matter where they are in the world. Another feature is the encrypted messaging that has a colour coded icon that shows security.
The Facebook messaging app is different from other messaging apps, as it is a messaging app that builds on Facebook’s existing chat network, yet tailored for mobile use. To use the Facebook messaging app, users need to log into their existing Facebook account and can message others that also have an account. It is possible to send voice messages and make voice calls. How the app works are different on an iOS or an Android phone. But there is a unique feature on Android where chat heads can pop onto the screen when you are having a conversation with someone. This means that you can chat even when the app is not open, and you are doing other things on your phone. There is also the option to get ‘Messenger Lite’, that is intended for older phones that do not have as much memory as some of the more recent versions.
WeChat dominates the Chinese Mobile Web, with over 697 people using it, yet it is making a push for more global use. It is free to use and a quick way to send messages, and make video and voice calls, plus group chat and multimedia messages such as images, videos, stickers and emoticons. It also has some additional features such as a ‘friend radar.’ This helps the user to find other friends that are using the app and connect with them in just one tap, a shake, a unique feature. This is where if you shake your phone it will connect you with someone in the area to chat to, a quick way to make friends. It is compatible with the Apple Watch and Android Wear and has many other features such as ‘Moments.’ Moments enables you to share pictures, making your emoticons, and the random ‘Drift Bottle’ which allow you to write a message and ‘throw’ it out in the world for anyone to see.
Line has made its mark in Japan in recent years and is used by over 600 million users. It covers all bases with the ability to use send text, photos, videos, audio messages, stickers and location sharing. There is also an almost social networking element to it, as it can have a Timeline-like system for people to share their photos and more. One of its biggest selling features is the app’s support for large groups with up to 200 participants. It will also let users follows their favourite celebrities, bands, companies, etc. So you can find out the latest news and information about them. There is also the ‘Keep’ feature, which makes it easy for users to store images, videos, messages and more.
WhatsApp is easy to setup and use, plus it is free. Once you have made an account, it will automatically sync with your phone’s contacts and then chat with others who also have the app, plus it is feature rich and ad free. Users can send text, photos, voice recordings, video messages and more. New features are added to the app all the time, such as encrypted messages between WhatsApp users. It is a great app to talk with groups of people, as the group chats can be named, profile pictures added, customise notifications and more. Users can also send documents easily such as PDFs, spreadsheets, slideshows and more.
There are so many great messaging apps to use, and the choices depend on what features you are looking for, where you live in the world and what app your friends have. One thing is for sure though, messaging apps are becoming popular, and show no sign of slowing down.