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Alternatives to WhatsApp: How Messenger works too


Fancy a WhatsApp alternative? We recommend these five messenger solutions. […]

No need for WhatsApp? These messenger alternatives are recommended (c) pixabay.com

The most popular messenger app is used by more than a billion people worldwide to communicate about business and private matters. Although there are some alternatives to WhatsApp, the switch is not necessarily easy – after all, a messenger alternative only has the desired effect if it is also used by your contacts.

Still, there are some good reasons to turn your back on WhatsApp. For example, because the app is under the control of Facebook, because the updated terms of use are pissed off or simply to expand the messenger app horizons. Caution is particularly advised when WhatsApp is used on professional devices: Without additional precautions, the contacts from your address book are sent to the operator of the messenger services. If consent has not been obtained for sharing this data, this could constitute a violation of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In addition, it should be difficult to completely delete contact data stored in the cloud at the customer’s request (“right to be forgotten”). We’ll show you the five best alternatives to WhatsApp – most of them GDPR-compliant.

WhatsApp users should switch to Signal the easiest – several functions of the two messenger apps overlap. Signal also offers end-to-end encryption, group, video chats and voice calls as well as the option to share content such as photos, videos or GIFs. The company attaches great importance to its data protection promise.

Signal is considered one of the best WhatsApp alternatives (c) Signal

One feature that Signal lacks compared to WhatsApp is an equivalent to WhatsApp Web, which also makes your chats visible in a web browser. There is a desktop app from Signal, but for data protection reasons it does not display any historical messages. Signal also supports messages that are only visible for a limited period of time. In contrast to WhatsApp, however, you can specify the time span after which the messages dissolve into digital air.

Wire is a messenger app that was developed by the creators of Skype. Wire also relies on end-to-end encryption and, similar to Signal and WhatsApp, you can log in with your telephone number or your email address. Once this is done, Wire will assign you a username preceded by an “@” similar to Twitter.

Wire is a WhatsApp alternative from the makers of Skype (c) Wire Swiss

The operation of Wire can seem a bit strange for die-hard WhatsApp users at first, but ultimately the app does what it should and allows video and voice calls, as well as individual and group chats, without any problems. Wire also offers a web app, for which a separate login must be created. In this case, too, you have to do without historical chat histories.

Telegram is one of the most popular messenger apps alongside WhatsApp and also supports end-to-end encryption. However, this function must first be activated for each individual chat. Telegram uses a proprietary encryption method – in contrast to other apps such as Signal, which follow an open source approach in this regard. How well or poorly Telegram protects the privacy of its users cannot be conclusively determined from an independent source.

Telegram is a no less popular messenger app, but it is also repeatedly criticized – not only by data protectionists (c) Telegram

The WhatsApp alternative, which originally came from Russia and is now based in Dubai, offers all the basic functions that one expects from a messenger: individual and group chats, video and voice calls or messages with a “self-destruct function”. A desktop app from Telegram also exists. Similar to WhatsApp, you log in with your phone number – all contacts who are already using Telegram are automatically recorded.

The WhatsApp alternative Viber has been around for almost ten years. This app also supports video and voice calls as well as text messages on an individual and group basis. In addition, Viber offers a “communities” function, which basically represents a group chat for more members and with more extensive control functions for administrators. In addition, Viber also allows you to send notes to yourself – a nice functionality that you can also use with WhatsApp by starting a chat with yourself.

Viber is one of the oldest alternatives to WhatsApp (c) Viber Media

Like Telegram, Viber also uses a proprietary encryption method. In addition to the mobile one, an app for desktops is also available for download.

If you want a little more geek flair (and can get your contacts to follow suit), it’s worth taking a look at Keybase as an alternative to WhatsApp. The app was originally only intended to authenticate yourself online. In the meantime, however, Keybase offers various other functions, for example messaging or document encryption. Keybase was originally intended primarily for power users – access was not possible without your own PGP key, and there was no way of doing without a command line. In the meantime, the app has been made much more accessible, registration is quick and painless, just like with the other WhatsApp alternatives.

Keybase was originally intended as an authentication tool, but is also well suited as an alternative messenger (c) Keybase

When it comes to messaging, Keybase offers only limited functionality compared to Signal or Telegram. Video and voice calls are not yet supported. That could change in the future after the video conferencing specialist acquired Zoom Keybase. Messages that can be displayed for a limited period of time are just as possible with Keybase as group chats. Keybase is available as an app for Android and iOS; there are also desktop apps for Windows, Mac and Linux.

This article is based on an article from our US sister publication PC World.

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