SMS had the goal of being the primary means of communication and in sending a message since it first came out in the 1990’s. When phone manufacturers and network providers adapted to the SMS service, phones with SMS capabilities swept the market by storm and flew right out of retail stores to the hands of consumers. Now, everyone has a smartphone and the days of short messages have evolved to chatting and video calls. The proliferation of smartphones have also innovated the way we stay connected and communicated with our loved ones, we are now able to place a call over the internet, send photos, and have conferences with just a touch of a button.
Chat applications have also been around for a while. These evolved from BBS and IRC, to the current chat applications that we have today. The current crop of chat applications are capable of a lot of things, but not all are created equal. Most now are capable of group chat, video calls, voice calls, multiple party conference calls, as well as emojis.
Here are the best chat applications available on the market:
By far, WhatsApp is the biggest messaging application for Android and iOS users. Working with your mobile number, this application supports text, pictures, video and voice messages as well as group chatting. It is connected to your mobile number, but it utilizes the data or internet connection to send your messages eliminating the need for international network charges. It is quick and easy to set up and even provides message encryption to ensure the user’s security. It was bought by Facebook and is one of the messaging platforms for the social media giant.
This application accomplishes all your messaging needs like free text, group chat, making calls, and can even send files and track the user’s location. What sets this application apart from Android and iOS users is the wide variety of unique emoticons and stickers to personalize your communication. It has also added and encryption service to secure your chat and color codes them for proper identification. Contrary to what it looks like, the default conversation mode of Viber is a group chat. There is no differentiation between a chat with only two participants and a group which has more than a hundred members.
- Google Hangouts
Google’s integration of all its services through your Gmail account has ensured that you are connected to everyone in your network. Not only can you send instant messages, chat with your group, send photos and files, this application also lets you live to stream a video and have a video up to 10 people. Hangout has made it possible to conduct a webinar as well, where the speaker can be online, and the audience can watch while he speaks. The video is then stored in YouTube and accessible by anyone with the URL.
- Facebook Messenger
If this application did not come pre-installed on your computer, it is one of the best messaging apps that should be downloaded. As the name suggests, it is connected to your Facebook profile and directly lets you chat with your contacts on the social media. You can also call people in your network using the voice or video feature of this application as well as send photos and files. On the desktop, Facebook Messenger is integrated with Facebook. However, on a smartphone, you can download Messenger separately. The messages on Messenger does not distinguish between the sources or the device. It will send the message to all the open devices, and the past messages are also available on any device you log in to.
Snapchat is an application that particularly appeals to the younger generation for the fantastic feature set like funny filters, bitmojis, advanced story sharing, and adaptive chat. These features are unique to SnapChat where they even went the extra mile to limit the existence of the funny videos and made precautionary measures to avoid screen captures. Another pioneering feature of Snapchat is the expiration of their video and images. Any image sent is automatically deleted after 24 hours. This makes it possible to keep your history clean and it also clears up storage on your cellphone. There are also commercial channels which a user can follow. This is the way for Snapchat to monetize their audience reach. The content on these channels are very interesting and informative; it is as if you are not being sent content marketing materials.
The line is one of the Asian powerhouses that made its mark worldwide with its messaging app that allows a monstrous group of 200 participants to take part in a group conversation. Besides the usual chat and texting features, it also made arrangements for international calls to mobile and landline numbers. It also has channels where you can follow your favorite celebrity, brand, or company for the latest buzz. Although it started as a regional service, it has also found a global presence.
This Microsoft application is widely known for its video and voice functionality but it also has a robust messaging capability that includes the transmission of files including short video messages. In addition, with Skype Credits, you can make calls to mobiles and landlines which makes it an ideal choice for business. It has a desktop and mobile platform which allows the user to be connected wherever they are by simply logging on using their account name and password.
There are other messaging apps which are cross-platform and not limited to the desktop or to mobile devices. Many more are being released by software companies. These answer different needs which are not being met by established chat apps.