Despite assurances that the recently announced acquisition will have no effect on WhatsApp as a service, some users may be looking for an alternative. Some alternatives are merely a different service, others add features like increased security or privacy, but there is no question that there is a good range of choices for users of a cross-platform messaging service. Here are 3 services that offer more features than just WhatsApp‘s basic text messaging.
Telegram is a messenger app that touts its encryption of messages for increasing user privacy and security. The service is free and ad-free, and is open source. It offers an open API and protocol for others to build apps that use the service. The main user-facing difference here is the encryption and privacy/security, though the potential for 3rd-party development may interest some. Telegram is a true cross-platform app, it is compatible with your smartphone, desktop PC and even Tablet or iPod.
A longtime draw for the BlackBerry OS, BBM recently went cross-platform, creating apps for Android and iOS. One new feature of the app that sets it apart from WhatsApp and other offerings is its “Channels”, where you can go to have conversations about a specific topic with other users. Users can create or join Channels, which appear to be somewhat similar to an internet forum.
Probably the most differentiated of the 3 services here, Viber offers free text messaging like the others but also offers free voice calling to other Viber users. Especially helpful to those on mobile plans with limited minutes, this feature makes Viber even more of a threat to mobile carriers than the other services. Similar to Telegram, Viber is also compatible with your Desktop making it a true cross platform app.