People have an irresistible urge to communicate. And in this digital age, where the internet is literally in the palm of your hands, communication has become easier than ever.
Internet messaging (or IM for short) has become the preferred method for online communication over the past decade. And when we talk about IM, it is WhatsApp that invariably comes up as the de-facto choice in mobile apps. With over 450 million MAUs or monthly active users, it has become the world’s most popular IM app for mobile.
Recently though, the WhatsApp was purchased by Facebook for a whopping $19 billion. And since many believe that the social media giant does not have the best of reputation with regards to privacy, it has let a large chunk of WhatsApp user base perturbed by the news.
Is Facebook going to tarnish the newly acquired service? Will it become prone to privacy attacks just like Facebook itself? Not to mention that Facebook is an advertising-based company. A lot of people simply do not want to take such a risk and have already started looking for alternatives
Luckily for them, there are lots of other options. And today, we will take a look at five of the best free WhatsApp alternatives that you can easily and happily replace it with.
BBM, or BlackBerry Messenger is one of the most popular instant messaging clients on mobile these days. The service used to be exclusive to BlackBerry phones but now it is available on iOS and Android, with a Windows Phone version also on its way.
The messaging service is known for its privacy. Thus you can rest assured that your messages are safe from prying eyes.
The app was also recently updated to version 2.0 on both iOS and Android, bringing in loads of fresh features:
- BBM Voice – enables free voice calls with other BBM users
- BBM Channels – join conversations happening now with BBM users, brands, businesses, communities and more
- Faster, easier sharing – add photos, voice notes, files and attachments to your BBM chats from your phone or Dropbox account
With the smartphone maker hedging its bets on its BBM service, it is expected that the app will continue to get better with additional functionality and perks in the near future. Not to mention it is free.
Another free Whatsapp alternative, Viber is one of the most popular instant messaging clients in Asia. The service has gained over a 100 million users since its inception in 2010. Unlike WhatsApp, Viber also offers VoIP services and the ability to download and purchase fancy stickers, which seem to be getting fairly popular among IM clients.
Perhaps the biggest feature of Viber is its desktop client available for both OS X and Windows. The desktop variant has the same feature set and functionality as its mobile counterpart. And those who want it in Modern UI flavor can download the Windows 8 app from Windows Store.
The only shortcoming with Viber is that it does not support BlackBerry 10 yet. But with the BB 10.2 update allowing better Android app compatibility, that may not be a problem in near future. On the bright side, Viber has a fully functional app for older BlackBerry devices.
Kik is another great free WhatsApp alternative that has gained widespread recognition in the past 12 months.
Unlike WhatsApp and Viber, Kik does not rely on your mobile phone number for registration. Instead, all you need to do is make a profile using your email. You can then use Kik regardless of what SIM you may be using. A key feature of the app is its ability to block users, which is something that many clients lack.
Additional features include a built in web browser, sketching, stickers as well as an integrated meme generator. Not to mention, the recently updated iOS 7 app simply looks fabulous.
Unfortunately, Kik has a less than impressive Windows Phone app, and currently the company hasn’t released native client for BB10 devices.
If you’re an internet user, chances are you’ve used Skype at least once in your life. Skype has made its name as a standard for online video calling over the past few years. But what many of you may not have noticed is that Skype, under the umbrella of Microsoft, has slowly been improving its IM side as well, making it an excellent free Whatsapp alternative
Using Skype gives you option to chat, video chat or have a voice call with your friends and family.
One of the interesting things about Skype is its ubiquitous design, which means its available on practically every platform including iOS, Android, BB10, Windows Phone, OS X, Windows, Linux, Xbox One and a few Smart TV panels.
In other words, it doesn’t get any more cross platform than Skype.
You may already have Google Hangouts and not even know about it. Every Gmail user automatically gets signed up for the Google Hangouts, the search engine giant’s very own instant messaging service.
The app was previously called Google Talk before it was overhauled and renamed to Google Hangouts. There are several key advantages to using the service, one of which is its availability on the web – as long as your PC has a web browser you can use Google Hangouts without any hassle.
Furthermore, there are tons of third party apps using which you can use this service. So even if the Hangouts app isn’t officially available on a platform of your choice, chances are there is a third party app that can be used to access it.
Adium on OS X and IM+ for Windows Phone and Windows 8, for instance, are some prominent examples.
This sums up our compilation of best free WhatsApp alternatives for instant messaging that you should give a go. If you have got any other great instant messaging app to share, please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comment section.
Featured Image Credit: Flickr