The Messaging App Dilemma

message-in-a-bottle

When I was young (yes, now I’m old 😀 ) the only messaging feature available on my phone was SMS texting: 160 chars, 10 spaces on my SIM card.

15 years later I’m impressed by the number of messaging app I’m using on daily basis. You can find below the list of messaging apps I used at least once in the last week.

Skype
Old but gold. Now is backed by Microsoft and has more problem than years before but it’s still the most used video call app. Most of my customer ask for Skype handle for chatting and also some my friends use it at work.

Skype Screenshot

WhatsApp
Most of my non geek friends still uses this app. Facebook paid $22B to acquire the company. Only half of them move to Telegram when WhatsApp became paid for Android users. Web interface, now available also for iOS, OS X and Chrome extension is really useful.

whatsapp_screenshot

Telegram
Most of my geek friends use this app. Is really similar to WhatsApp but uses an open source protocol, encryption is claimed as better than competitors. You can also use it server side. Meh…

telegram_screenshot

 

Slack
My boss want it for replacing Skype last spring. I actually don’t like the UI and the price is exaggerated but, after some months of testing, works quite well.

slack_screenshot

HipChat
One of our external collaborator create a private HipChat channel because he hasn’t an internal email address and wasn’t able to join company’s Slack. After a few days of use, seems really similar to Slack but is almost free. Crew.co tests both and choose Slack.

hipchat_screenshot

Google Talk/Hangout
The best alternative to Skype for video calls. Actually used only for setup video calls.

google_hangout

Facebook Messages
For people I want to contact only on Facebook. Really useful in combination with other Facebook features (events, birthdays, …) also support a lot of external integration (and more are coming). Probably one of the best player in the coming years.

facebook_messages_screenshot

 

Twitter Direct Messages
Limited to 140 chars until June 2015 are now a valid alternative to Facebook Messages (Twitter extend the limit a few weeks ago). I use them rarely only with a couple of contacts who aren’t connected on Facebook.

twitter_direct_messages_screenshot

Linkedin Messages
With recent update (last week for my account) they are more similar to a messaging app nor an email client. Now recruiters what to chat with you and this is quite noisy.

linekdin_messages_screenshot

Apple Messages
The modern alternative to SMS. Only for Apple users.

apple_messages_screenshot

What’s the best one? I have no idea! Anyway there is a funny thing to notice: I can use them in an easy and transparent way both on my smartphone and on my notebook even better than I was able to use SMS 15 years ago.

Many people are worried by the use of several different channels for communication. “NO NO don’t add me on Telegram, we are already connected on WhatsApp! I can’t handle this!” they say.

IMHO there is no pain in using a lot of different channel because user experience is improved and now we need to use only one channel: our “digital identity” logged in on every device. Complexity is hidden by designers.

Is the interconnected world, is here and we are already part of that.

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