Picking the Right Messaging App to Use
In the past few years, we’ve seen how people shifted their communication habits from using traditional SMS to online messaging apps.
The decline of SMS ushered the rise of so many alternatives and we’ve tried quite a lot of them – Viber, Line, WhatsApp, Kakao Talk, Telegram, and Voxer. Based on local telco data we’ve gathered in the past couple of years, Viber is the most used messaging app along with Facebook Messenger.
One of the more recent concerns with regards to using messaging apps is security. Not a lot of people might consider it as a big issue considering their online conversations aren’t a big deal and nothing is secret or very sensitive about it.
However, this mindset can become prevalent and we may be sharing vital information once in a while and that can be risky.
When picking the right messaging app to use, one needs to consider several factors:
Convenience is a matter of personal choice. Most people would pick the messaging app that their friends or loved ones frequently use. We get introduced to messaging through the ones we often talk to online.
Sometimes, it’s also because the app is the one recommended for use in the office or work. That’s the reason why a lot of people use so many messaging apps – one for work and another for personal use.
Being able to use our preferred messaging app on multiple devices gives us the flexibility to use it more often. Normally, it starts with our mobile device and then we extend its use to our personal computers whether it’s in our work laptop or the desktop at home.
Messaging apps can be a battery hog especially when they are always running in the background. Aside from that, the amount of space it uses in the memory shows how efficient the app is as well as the data (i.e. mobile data) it consumes in the background. It goes without saying that the smaller the footprint, the better.
Security is something not a lot of users would think to be important and perhaps, it’s also among one of the least concerns. However, recent events on hacking and leaked data have made the topic of security and privacy a more serious matter.
The issue can range from the simple gathering of personal information to better targeting of users with the right ads – all the way to hacking for financial gain or identity theft. This can happen even within the device itself, the operating system, games and simple apps.
With messaging apps as one of the most frequently used apps in the mobile phone, it is also one of the top channels where information is sent or delivered. There is wisdom in picking the right apps for your use.
Take, for example, Viber. The app implements an end-to-end encryption protocol. That means all your private and group communications including chats, calls, and video calls are all encrypted by default. There is no need to turn this on in the settings. Your communications are protected from the very moment you use it.
Other messaging apps also have this feature but most of them will require you to activate the feature in the settings and not a lot of people might know or bother to do this.
Comparison table of features between FB Messenger, Whatsapp and Viber.
Encryption ensures that any information you send is kept secure during transmission and will only be decrypted once it arrives to the recipient.
This includes text messages, voice messages and most especially the files (some of which contain sensitive information) that you upload.
Another excellent feature and this is something we’ve been looking for as a default feature, is the Delete Messages. It sounds simple but actually in many messaging apps, when you delete a message it is only deleted on your end and not on the recipient. With Viber, you can do exactly this. Believe me when I say this feature can get very, very handy one day.
While Viber’s end-to-end encryption by default ensures the security of your data, certain Messages or materials can be very personal and sensitive like photos or videos.
Viber has the option to send photos/videos with a specific Time Limit so that after your message is read, it’s automatically deleted from the device.
There’s also Secret Chat which is like the “paranoid version” of a regular chat. It can completely delete messages after a minute that it has been read. These messages cannot be forwarded, and screenshots are either totally unavailable or alerted to you by an instant notification in the chat screen.
Hidden Chats allow you to hide any conversation from your chat list so that only you can see them using a PIN that you can set, so you can protect extra private information in case someone else gets their hands on your phone or desktop and accesses your Viber account (God forbid!).
These are just the core privacy and security features that Viber has incorporated into their messaging app. You can make granular tweaks in the settings anytime to customize your Viber app based on your needs.
In summary, when checking out which messaging app you want to install for personal use or for work coordination, check out what features they offer. They’re not all the same. Some offer more and better features than others.