WhatsApp alternatives in light of the Facebook buyout
In light of Facebook’s recent $16 billon acquisition of WhatsApp, some users are looking for an alternative service, and while we suspect that most fanatics will remain on board given the popularity of the app and the fact that Facebook is keeping it as a standalone app, a segment of users are scrambling to jump ship.
Whether you are worried about your privacy being in the hands of Facebook, or simply need a new messenger, below are five alternatives similar to WhatsApp. While it is our contention that no digital platform removes all vulnerabilities, some people simply have a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to Facebook, and that, we can understand.
Telegram: built by a non-profit based in Berlin, it is heavily encrypted so the safety conscious can rest easy. You can also set messages to self-destruct (delete them from the receiver’s phone after a set amount of time). It is also cloud-based, so you can access your messages across mobile and desktop devices. Telegram is free, and will remain this way indefinitely. There is also an open API protocol, free. Telegram is available for both iOS and Android.
Kik: Kik currently has over 100 million registered users. Register with your email address and select a username so people can find you. It is very simple to use, but offers no calling abilities. It is supported across iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Nokia devices. Kik is a free platform.
Viber: Viber is probably the most similar to WhatsApp. It uses mobile contacts to identify users. Once you register, you will receive an access code via text message. This will allow Viber access to your address book. If any of your contacts are already using Viber, you can instantly connect. However, Viber does offer the added benefit of allowing you to cal users via an Internet-connected smartphone. Viber supports iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Nokia, and Bada. It is also compatible with Windows 8 and can be run from your desktop.
Wickr: Wickr is a self-destructing message app. Wickr aims to put the power of mobile messaging in the hands of the sender. The sender gets to decide how long a message remains on the receiver’s phone. Before you send a message, you have the option to choose a self-destruct time, ranging from a few seconds to upwards of five days. Once the timer runs out, the message is erased from the receiver’s phone. Wickr will also search your contacts for people you know, connecting you easily. It is available for both iOS and Android, free.
Line: Line entered the U.S. market early this year and has become a huge success. It is one of the most popular services for free voice and video calling. The video calling works a bit like FaceTime. It also offers in-app games and sticker (both for a fee), but allow you to interact with other Line users in a unique way. Line is available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, and Nokia, as well as, your PC. Line is a free download from the any of the mentioned app stores.