Instant messaging has become the main type of communication. Everyone has a phone in their pocket, but calling without warning is almost bad manners now. Using messengers is much more convenient. Let’s look at 7 of the most interesting and popular messengers in 2023: which app is better, what are their features, advantages, and disadvantages, what size is their audience is, etc.
The most popular messenger in 155 countries. 2 billion active users. 600 billion messages are sent every day!
What do these numbers mean? That most likely many of your friends or colleagues are already using WhatsApp, and it will be easy for you to start communicating with them on the app.
All types of communication are available on WhatsApp:
- text and voice messages,
- group chats for up to 256 people,
- document and file sharing up to 100 MB,
- group audio calls (up to 32 participants) and video calls (up to 8 participants).
Communication in the messenger is protected by end-to-end encryption: even WhatsApp employees do not have access to your conversations.
One of the fastest growing messengers. It is not without reason that it recently added a feature to import chats. If you move to Telegram from another messenger, you can transfer all of your old correspondence here.
Telegram can do everything that a modern messenger should be able to do:
- receive and send text and voice messages, and make audio calls,
- send files of any type, up to 2 GB in size,
- create groups, read or create channels (news, entertainment, educational),
- play video via a link (from YouTube, for example) and conduct live video broadcasts.
In addition, Telegram supports different types of video communication: a single video call, a group video conference, a screen broadcast with the ability to comment.
800 million active users, and in terms of functionality it’s like an improved WhatsApp. Here you can send and receive files up to 200 MB in size, compared to 100 MB in WhatsApp. And you can delete or edit your messages for everyone at any time, not just within the first hour.
In addition, Viber has:
- communities of interest (the “Explore” button in the main menu),
- Viber Out function for calls to landline numbers, including international,
- original stickers that can be combined in different ways, and used to react to text messages or videos,
- option for sharing your location,
- filters and masks for selfies,
- disappearing messages with a timer that goes off after you read it.
In WhatsApp, for example, the timer is activated immediately. That’s why its settings are inflexible: 24 hours, 1 week or 90 days. Because you don’t know when the recipient will read your message or if they will read it at all. With Viber, the timer is much more precise: 10 seconds, 1 minute, 1 hour or 1 day.
Another great feature is secret chats. They are protected by a digit code, Touch ID or Face ID of your choice.
Discord is not only a medium for text, audio, and video, but also an entire community that has grown around the messenger. 300 million users, sending almost 1 billion messages every day.
Discord was originally created as a program for voice communication during online games. Then video streaming was added: the developers call it a form of video chatting, rather than an attempt to create competition to Twitch or YouTube.
Discord is still popular among gamers, but in addition to them, it has also attracted people interested in science, sports, music, movies.
Briefly about the structure of Discord:
- with the Explore Public Servers button, you can find several large sections by interest: Games, Music, Education, etc.,
- inside the sections are servers – separate areas for communication,
- within a server, there can be several channel sections: for example, separate channels for discussion of different genres or different movies,
- each channel has its own text or voice chat.
Such a complicated structure (compared to that of Telegram or Viber channels) allows you to create something like a forum with easy navigation, where all the information is arranged neatly.
Signal is the most secure of publicly available messengers. It has received praise and recommendations from Elon Musk, Edward Snowden, and Jack Dorsey.
You can do all the same things in Signal that you can do in other popular messengers:
- communicate using text and emoji,
- create single and group chats (up to 1,000 people),
- initiate or receice voice and video calls (up to 8 people simultaneously in a video chat),
- transfer files of up to 100 MB.
And the real beauty of Signal is its security. All the correspondence is encrypted and is stored only on users’ devices (and if you use Signal on different devices, for example, on the phone and computer, then the correspondence is not synchronized).
Nothing is stored on the servers, not even stickerpacks. Not only can Signal employees not read your messages, they don’t even know who you are texting to.
Since Facebook Messenger is the offspring of the corresponding social network, it is also possible to log in with a Facebook account, and it also has various social functions:
- cross-service communication: directly from Messenger you can post to Facebook, Instagram, Portal and Oculus,
- in video chat mode, you can watch clips, movies, and TV shows with your friends,
- you can receive and send money by linking a PayPal account, debit card, or prepaid rechargeable card to your account,
- you can get in touch with various FB companies, find promotional offers, reserve seats for events, etc.
In terms of security, FB Messenger is quite reliable: since it’s not even afraid to conduct transactions with money. There is end-to-end encryption, there is an option to lock the application and then unlock it by face or fingerprint recognition.
But the anonymity of communication is questionable. FB collects tons of information about its users. Various metadata is then used to show ads.
And the fact that a disappearing message in an encrypted chat can be reported 6 hours after it “disappeared” – suggests that it is not so disappearing.
To register in WeChat, you need the confirmation of a person who is already using the application. In addition, it is desirable to have a Chinese SIM card.
WeChat with a foreign SIM card is a simple messenger like WhatsApp. While WeChat with a Chinese SIM card is a monster with a billion different functions:
- Chinese lettering recognition and translation,
- money transfer and QR code payment,
- dating service,
- ticket booking, grocery delivery, doctor appointment,
- thousands of free games, mini-programs, news.
For a Chinese person, WeChat is not just an application, it is practically an electronic passport, which is also used for interaction with different state structures (tax, insurance, etc.).
There is no need to talk about any kind of confidentiality or anonymity. WeChat is often criticized for the fact that everything is monitored and controlled by the authorities.