The battle of messengers: top 5 apps

Let’s find out which messenger is the best

The battle of messengers: top 5 apps. Source: shutterstock.com

Today, PaySpace Magazine would like to compare five of the most popular messengers. We will consider different features, such as speed of messaging, security, audio/video calls option, etc.

To start with, let’s find out what people used to call the messenger. Messenger, or instant messenger (IM) is an app or web service, intended for instant message exchanges.

Traditional SMS texting (as well as MMS) is almost obsolete today. Moreover, even social media have long ceased to be a network for communication, since today they are increasingly being used as advertising platforms. If you use your imagination, you can say that messenger is like a home, like a living room with a fireplace, where you can gather your closest friends, because without knowing a nickname or phone number, outsiders will not be able to enter the area. Nowadays, messengers provide many more features that they were expected to provide. Today, when an LTE is no longer a miracle, no one thinks about saving traffic, because messengers are often used to make calls to other countries (forget about roaming), for internal communication and file sharing. Yes, messengers can connect you with your family and friends via audio or video calls worldwide.

As people say, demand creates supply, and this has led to a mushrooming of new services. Nevertheless, not all of the new apps are reliable and secure. On the other hand, you can find a new really robust and secure messenger, which works fast as a shark, but it will be hard to lure all your friends there. Thus, it is a chance that you’ll end up spending time there all by yourself.

Now, let’s get down to business.

We’ve decided to start with this messenger. Firstly, it is hard to find somebody who hasn’t heard of it. And this is a great success for a brand, regardless of what area we are talking about (Coca-cola, McDonald’s, Apple, etc). Secondly, the messenger has more than 1.5B monthly active users, which makes it the most popular messenger app all over the world. It says a lot about the app per se. At the very minimum, users trust it, and don’t abandon it even if they try new apps for instant messaging. Moreover, WhatsApp users spend 2B minutes making calls daily, while the average number of video calls is no less than 55M calls per day.

This messenger is not the most secure one, but its developers have never positioned themselves as creators of the most encrypted messenger, and have never been focusing on this feature. Nevertheless, this app hasn’t had a large number of privacy-related scandals and concerns (as other famous apps have). Most of these “scandals” saw the light of day once WhatsApp became part of Facebook, but that’s not surprising (we’d say that’s about par for the course).

Let’s evaluate this app (some of pros features will be evaluated on a scale ranging from 1 to 5):

Pros

  • Messaging speed – 4
  • Easy to use
  • User-friendly
  • Group chats
  • Calls
  • Video calls
  • Security – 4
  • File sharing

Cons

  • Collects personal data
  • Limited range of stickers and other messaging options
  • Design is outdated
  • You can still only contact WhatsApp users through this application
  • Filesharing is still quite limited
  • Lack of self-destructing messages

Telegram is considered to be one of the most secure apps worldwide (the servers are encrypted with MTProto protocol). Initially, it was popular only among CIS countries’ users. However, due to recent privacy-related scandals, it is gaining ground day by day. Today, it has more than 200M active users, which send no less than 15B messages daily. One of the most amazing things about Telegram is that its creators spend $0 on its advertising. Nevertheless, the average number of new Telegram signups is 1M users weekly.

The app is getting more and more popular, and for a good reason. Users appreciate speed (the app knows for sure what real instant messaging is) and security. Moreover, this app is a real pro when it comes to filesharing (.DOC, .MP3, .ZIP, etc). The only major shortcoming of this app is the lack of video calls.

Pros

  • Messaging speed – 5
  • Security – 5
  • Smart bots
  • Easy to use
  • User-friendly
  • Large group chats
  • Open source software
  • Wide range of stickers
  • Embedded photo editor
  • MTProto protocol encryption
  • Impressive file-sharing abilities
  • Secret chat feature & self-destructing messages

Cons

  • Lack of video calls
  • Still, not many people use Telegram
  • Lack of “secret chat” option on both web and PC versions

Facebook Messenger is one of the most frequently-used messengers worldwide. Yes, it is a separate (from Facebook) messaging application, so it is convenient that you can use it apart from Facebook. This app also has a Lite version (designed for usage in conditions of poor connection and low spec phones).

This messenger is quite popular since it has 1.3B active users. According to statistics, no less than 12% of the world’s population use FB Messenger monthly, while 17B photos are being sent via the app per month. On the other hand, this messenger is, to put it mildly, not the most secure one. Of course, it is not the worst one, but privacy-related scandals of Facebook don’t help it look better.

Still, it is a good and modern messenger in terms of functionality.

Pros

  • Messaging speed – 4
  • Security – 3
  • Easy to use
  • Wide range of stickers, emojis, etc
  • Smart bots
  • Secret chat feature & self-destructing messages
  • High definition video chat
  • Payment feature (send money to family/friends)

Cons

  • Takes up storage space
  • Drains a device’s battery quickly
  • Lack of decent data confidentiality (one way or another people associate it with FB as well)
  • You can’t delete (for an interlocutor) or edit messages you’ve sent

Say hello to good old Viber. It is quite an old messenger (along with WhatsApp), but it still is keeping its head above water. Viber is kept afloat thanks to the fact that its developers try to keep up to date, and keep pace with the newest features of modern similar apps.

You can send messages, share files, and make audio and video calls through Viber. The synchronization of one account on different devices is also available. You can create open chats for up to 100 participants in real-time, which is a great solution for corporate communication. Viber supports integration with the contacts list.

Today, Viber has no less than 1B users, and it is used in 193 countries. Furthermore, it is one of the most popular apps when it comes to cross-border video calls. However, in 2019, it is, to say the least, not the fastest messenger.

Pros

  • Messaging speed – 3
  • Security – 4
  • Easy to use
  • Wide range of stickers, GIFs, and other messaging options
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Secret chat feature & self-destructing messages
  • Viber Out (international and domestic calls for a reasonable price)

Cons

  • Still has some security troubles
  • Spam and too many ads
  • Lack of smart bots (the way modern competitors have)
  • A little bit outdated design

WeChat is one of the most popular messaging apps in Asia, and the most popular messenger in China. Today, it has more than 1B users, and the number continues to rise. The average number of messages sent on WeChat daily is 38B, while the number of corporate WeChat accounts is 14M.

Initially, this app was popular only in China, but it is gaining popularity outside China day by day. Moreover, WeChat is not just a messenger, it is also a payment service. WeChat Pay feature has more than 800M users, while more than 400,000 offline stores accept it. As of 2018, WeChat Pay was available in 40 countries and operated in 13 currencies.

Pros

  • Messaging speed – 4
  • Security – 4
  • Easy to use
  • Payment service feature
  • Official accounts feature (push feeds to subscribers, interact with them, etc)
  • WeChat Moments (post images, text, comments, share music, and track friends’ updates)
  • City services (booking doctor, paying bills, etc)
  • WeChat Business

Cons

  • Has some privacy issues (especially when you first sign up)
  • Most features don’t work outside China
  • Still not so many people outside of China use it

The bottom line

Traditionally, it is hard to determine an undisputed winner. Old-school messengers like WhatsApp and Viber have a wider audience, and this is the fact you can’t argue with. Facebook Messenger is popular due to, it’s no surprise, FB per se. Telegram is a relatively young, but very promising messenger. Thus, we would choose Telegram if we need a well-secured messenger. WeChat is super modern and cool, but it will take some time to roll out outside China. WhatsApp and Viber are equally good, but the latter seems to be more outdated, so in terms of broad audience we would probably choose WhatsApp. Finally, FB messenger is okay, but privacy-related concerns will probably follow every product in some way related to Facebook (especially if it has the name as part of its own), so we would hardly choose Facebook Messenger as a major messenger (excuse us for the tautology).

SEE ALSO: How to set up a Facebook business page

facebook