As technology advances, so do the means of communication. Myriad of messaging apps are currently being used all over the world, complementary or even replacements for  the now traditional phone calls or smss.

They are big business (even though most of them are free), and there are plenty to choose from. There are messaging apps, video messaging apps, emoji-only messaging apps, gif apps. The success of an app lays in its ease of use and of course, in it’s design.

A key thing to remember is that different apps work best depending on who you want to contact: friend, relative, colleague or stranger. Tone and format is important and, as the market has grown, apps have become more feature-packed.

Here are the apps that I use and what I use them for:

skype

My goto app for chatting with my colleagues.

Also, my go to app for video chatting with my parents. They are not very familiar with the tech world, but they learned to use Skype pretty fast.

  • Easy to use and has a clean and simple interface.
  • It’s very popular and global, pretty much all of my friends use it in their offices
  • It’s very easy to start a conference. A nice feature here is the possibility to create group conferences.
  • It lets you send photos, files, and videos in messages, and engage in group messaging.
  • You can quickly share your screen.
  • For business or pleasure, Skype remains one of the most user-friendly and secure options for calls and video chats.

Issues:

  • Skype is still behind Facebook when it comes to smilies, but so is everyone else.
  • It has some problems on certain platforms:
  • On Windows:  it features some annoying ads that clouds the interface, it shows unread messages, even if you read them on different platform.
  • On Android: It updates itself when opening the app which can keep you waiting for quite some time.

hipchat

This is the tool that my teams and the client have integrated for chatting.

  • It can nicely be integrated with our development tools that we use internally, like Bamboo, Jira, Stash, Github, Bitbucket.
  • It has screen sharing options.
  • You can initiate a call.
  • The UI looks dated.
  • Cannot easily edit a message.
  • Creates channels for having focused discussions
  • Video conferences

Issues:

  • Disconnects often from internet

slack

Has recently replaced Hipchat as our chatting tool within our software development teams and the client’s team.

  • It features a slick design
  • Hipchat competitor, very popular among younger, hippier business teams
  • It’s colourful and fun, and allows all sorts of content: gifs, PDFs, docs, video, to be shared in different “channels”.
  • Premium tiers allow deeper archive searching, analytics and guest access
  • Search feature more useful than Hipchat’s
  • It also has an online app option
  • Integration with Jira/Bamboo/Stash/Github/Bitbucket
  • Instant group chatting – no need to create a room if you need to talk to multiple people at once

Issues:

  • No video conferences

SMS

Good old sms – used when no net is available. Easy to use when out in town and I don’t have internet signal.

whatsapp

  • I use it for chatting with friends, because pretty much all of them have it.
  • Mobile, sms like app, easy to use with my other smartphone fanatics.
  • Easy to send pictures
  • Simple ui
  • Fast response
  • Group chats
  • Its interface is clean and simple
  • It allows photo, video and audio media, as well as group chat.
  • Nifty features include the option to back up chat to iCloud and automatically save in-message media.

facebook

  • Almost all my friends/acquaintances are on Facebook. Probably so are yours.
  • Facebook made his over 500 million users base by making it the only way of chatting via Facebook on smartphones and tablets last August.
  • It has an big variety of stickers , if you’re into that kind of thing
  • Offers picture and voice messaging as well as free Wi-Fi calls
  • My goto messaging app when I cannot find a person on the other apps
  • Easy to send pictures/videos
  • Group messaging

Issues:

  • Some syncing problems between mobile/web

 

hangouts

  • Our development teams use it to video conference
  • I work in a fairly casual office, so I spend almost half a day in Google hangout, video chatting with the client or with my colleagues, which works better than Skype
  • The smartphone app is a good tool to keep in touch with colleagues whose number you might not have
  • It supports animated stickers, pictures, location settings
  • Voice and video group calls

Issues:

  • Ss most of google products, the messaging app feels a little confusing
  • In web, it is a browser extension, but you can only use the  global google account
  • In mobile, it is an app
  • Not easy to use by non-technical people, it has a high learning curve
  • It has the familiar UI of google, and it is supposed to make the account switching very easy, but I often find myself struggling to find a person, or a conversation

 

viber

  • I have Viber installed on my phone, but I rarely use it. I keep it because I have friends who like it(it’s more popular in some countries).
  • Lets you add locations, audio clips, emoticons, and stickers.
  • It lets you make both audio and video calls and both are great quality even on a 3G connection.
  • Send texts and share both photos and videos with friends and family.
  • Viber automatically syncs with your contacts and knows which of your friends have Viber, making it easy to stay in touch on the cheap.
  • Interface is clean and simple
  • The emoticons on Viber are awesome: They’re superanimated and a lot cooler than regular emoticons. Plus, the app has a stickers section, which are sent automatically after you tap on one
  • Users can also send or take photos and videos from within the app, as well as share their current location.
  • Viber supports group chats with up to 40 participants (10 more than WhatsApp’s 30 participants).

Issues:

  • With Viber, you can message anyone for free, but you can only make free calls to other Viber users. If you wish to make a call to someone who isn’t a Viber user, carrier rates apply.
  • Not a lot of people use it. Currently, you can only watch Public Chats, not participate.

 

 

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