If Facebook buying Whatsapp means you're busy looking for a new instant messaging app to call your own then here are the best alternatives for you to consider!
Let's be clear — if you used WhatsApp today, very little will change today and likely tomorrow. According to WhatsApp's statement, not only will they stay an independent app, they'll stay an autonomous business unit. So, like Instagram, we may see some integration, even account sharing, WhatsApp won't become Facebook Messenger or vice versa, at least not any time soon. If, however, you absolutely can't stand even the idea of Facebook owning your instant messenger (IM) app, then there are some alternatives. So, if you're determined to ditch WhatsApp, where should you go? Here are our top 5 favorites!
I know you know about iMessage since it's built right into your iPhone but if you haven't looked at it in a while, it's worth a revisit. It makes the most sense for people whose family and friends are likewise all-in on Apple — iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It supports multiple media types, including photos, videos, audio, location, contact cards, etc., has option read-status indicators, and can send and receive via phone number or mail address. It's not cross-platform, however, so for anyone with family and friends on Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, etc. it'll default back to SMS/MMS and that's typically a deal-breaker. Messages also doesn't support video or audio calling, but Apple does provide the separate FaceTime app for that.
If most of the people you care most about are on iOS or OS X, give Apple's Messages app a try!
Google Hangouts packs a lot of instant messaging punch, especially for groups. Yes, loving Google while hating Facebook isn't the most consistent mindset in the world, but to each their own, right? Hangouts supports text, photos, and videos, as well as audio and video calls. Their group video calls are the best in the business, and their group messaging provides not only read status, but who-read status. It works on iPhone and iPad as well as Android, and in any modern web browser on Mac or Windows. There's no native Mac or Windows client, however, and no app for Windows Phone or BlackBerry. If you're deeply tied into the Google ecosystem you likely already know about Hangouts, but if you're trying to get away from WhatsApp, give it another look.
If you love Google and your friends and family are all on iOS or Android, check out Hangouts!
- Free - Download now
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM)
BBM is the grand-daddy of mobile messaging, and the app WhatsApp aped to get to the top. BBM pioneered the read state and has continuously been at the forefront of IM with features like groups, voice and video calling, and most recently, channels. Sadly, they waited far too long to go cross-platform, but they've recently expanded to both iPhone and Android, meaning everyone but Windows Phone can now get in on the action. There aren't any native Mac or Windows clients, and BlackBerry's quirky ID system only lets you stay logged into one device at a time, but there is a brand new version for iPhone with a bunch of new features, including location sharing.
If you grew up on a BlackBerry you'll feel right at home with BBM for iPhone.
- Free - Download now
Skype is a lot like that old joke about democracy — the worst except for everything else. As an audio and even video calling service, nothing has proven as robust and resilient as Skype. That Microsoft and eBay before them wasted years without substantially improving Skype and it still works as well as it does is a testament to good a start it had. So, while I remain apoplectic about the many announces Skype still stymies us with, there's no denying they work on almost all platforms, with native apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and Windows. In addition to voice and video calls, they have instant messaging with photo support.
If you need messaging that's absolutely everywhere and sync isn't high on your priority list, check out Skype.
- Free - Download now
Kik Messenger isn't owned by Facebook, Google, Microsoft, or anyone else right now. If you absolutely, positively don't want a big corporation involved with your instant messaging, then it's an alternative you can more happily check out. Kik Messenger supports iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone, and all the content types you'd expect.
- Free (with in-app purchases) - Download now
Line, WeChat, GroupMe, and other options
There are other hugely popular instant messaging services in Asia, including Naver's Line, which is big in Japan, and Tencent's WeChat, which is big in China. Unless you live in those areas, however, you'll have to convince your friends and family to make the switch with you and that can be a challenge. They're worth checking out, but you'll likely want to stick with what's popular in your area. Likewise, Microsoft owns another messaging service, GroupMe, that might interest people focused on group sharing on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
- Free (with in-app purchases) - Line - Download now
- Free (with in-app purchases) - WeChat - Download now
- Free - GroupMe - Download now
Your favorite messaging app?
What's your favorite messaging app right now? If it's WhatsApp, will you be welcoming your new Facebook overlords? If not, what is it and why did you pick it?