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Tools | Land n Sand

5 Ways to Switch from WhatsApp and 5 Alternatives

February 20, 2014 By:

With the acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook in progress, a significant portion of the internet is going eeeeeek no no no no no at the idea - because let's face(book) it, Facebook doesn't exactly have the best reputation as far as privacy and security is concerned. Although WhatsApp feels as though it's been part of life forever, it's a mere 5 years old, but with 450 million users, well on its way to hitting the magic billion, which is why Mark Zuckerberg says he wants it. The $19 billion he's allegedly paying works out to $40 per user - which says a) the data is valuable and b) a massive user increase is predicted.

If you're concerned about your data, your privacy, or the general world takeover by the Book of Face, the internet is full of free WhatsApp alternatives. And by 'free', chat services/instant messengers mean there are no SMS charges - I've been asked about this a lot. It doesn't mean you don't get charged for wifi/mobile data etc. 

WhatsApp improved on the old, well known messengers, by instantly listing your phone contacts in its contacts - you install it and everyone's there already. The alternatives generally do the same thing, but of course changing now would see your contact list diminish dramatically. South Africans took to WhatsApp like boerie to a braai. 

So what do you do if you want to change to another messenger?

  1. Don't uninstall WhatsApp yet - or at all.
  2. Ask your friends what they're using.
  3. Have a look around online (and see the list below) and see which chat apps might suit you.
  4. When you decide on one or more apps, let your friends know, so they can join you.
  5. Test thoroughly and be prepared to try more than one.

I've had a look around with these criteria in mind, plus the 3 main cellphone software systems in use in South Africa - IOS (Apple), Blackberry and Android (almost everything else). Oh alright 4, there's still the unholy Nokia/Windows alliance. Here are the most popular suggestions online, that also work across all mobile platforms, and some brief info about what makes them differ from each other:

  1. Viber - includes free calls to anyone, anywhere, as long as they have Viber too.
  2. WeChat - gives you the option to choose whether or not to link your phone contacts to it, or add contacts manually.
  3. ChatOn (also works on PC) - made by Samsung.
  4. Kik - built in browser.
  5. Telegram - this is the one you want if you also want serious privacy and encryption. Also partially open source.

You can get them in your app store, or from the web links within the list.

 

 

 

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