There are way too many apps being offered and all of them, while largely similar, offer a USP that sets them apart. I’ve analysed all of the popular messaging apps in the market today, to help you narrow down the best messaging app that you should use.
WhatsApp: India’s favourite messaging app
WhatsApp is one of the most popular multimedia messaging apps. It is one of the most used apps and is frequently updated, thanks to the official Android Google Play Store beta program. The app has gained regular features over the years with active developer support. Most notable improvements over the years have been the addition of Reading scripts, end-to-end encryption, the ability to send documents, quote and star messages and audio calls. The basic multimedia messaging app features like sending photos and videos from camera or gallery, contact, location, documents and audio files sharing is included in the app in addition to a separate button to record audio messages. The most recent addition to the list is the addition of GIF support along with Apple iOS 10 API support which enables Siri to send messages using voice commands and the roll-out of mentions support to tag users in group conversations.
There are reports about the company working on adding bots, channels, stickers, two-factor authentication, the ability to draw on photos like Snapchat, video calling and the ability to interact with brands using the platform. Most of the features are currently in a testing phase, hidden from general users. The company has been working on GIPHY integration along with the rumoured ability to send full-sized images without any quality loss. The app, however, does not offer much in terms of customisation, only allowing you to update your profile photo, chat background and other such basic edits.
Facebook Messenger: Everyone’s on Facebook
Facebook Messenger is Facebook’s official offering for messaging. The app was initially launched in 2011 as a separate app and split from the official Facebook app in 2014. The platform started as Facebook Chat which was mirrored as an IM messaging service that did not store your messaging history once you closed the window. The company announced an overhaul and announced Facebook inbox, which was meant to work as an email service with ‘@facebook.com’ as the domain where people could send you emails.
The company updated its service, removing what did not work out in favour of newer features. These features include sending money using Facebook messenger, profile stickers, drawing on images and secret conversations where the messages would vanish after a limited time. The ‘chat heads’ interface utilised by the app is unique, and no other messaging app uses such feature. The basic multimedia messaging app features like sending photos and videos from the camera or gallery, location, documents (limited to desktop version) and audio files sharing is included in the app in addition to a separate button to record audio messages. The account lets you add your contact number to help people search and add you using your mobile number, but the account is not tied to that particular contact number. The messaging platform does not allow users to set the status or any message.
The company recently announced SMS integration in the app in addition to a dedicated Messenger website. The app allows you to play games without leaving the chat thread, create nicknames for users, transfer files without uploading the files to any third party cloud service and more. Facebook added audio and video calling to the platform in addition to the new instant video option to engage users. Facebook added read receipts to Messenger where a small bubble of display picture would let you know if the message has been read or not.
Facebook announced messenger platform last year where third party apps would make use of the messenger platform to deliver gifs, personalised photos last year. The company added a unified store to help users easily discover sticker packs and third party apps using the platform. The company announced the expansion of the platform by adding chatbots to the platform where brands, companies or individuals would make use of bots to interact with consumers on a more exclusive and personal level.
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