Apparently everyone’s going crazy because Facebook bought WhatsApp. So what, you hear me asking, what does it change?
Anyway, I’m gonna talk about a few sensible substitutes.
Many people currently talk about Threema
Threema is a lot like WhatsApp in how you use it. However it does many things right which WhatsApp fails to offer: Encryption and authentication.
A plus is that the servers are in Switzerland which makes it a little bit harder for agencies such as the NSA to get your communication data.
Threema also has a few drawbacks: First, just as WhatsApp it is not free: You have to pay a small fee to install it. Second, it is proprietary. That is nobody can have a look and confirm that the app really is secure. We have to believe in what the publisher says.
Telegram brings clients for your PC
A second alternative is Telegram. It’s free and also just works as you would expect. The main benefit in comparison to WhatsApp is that you can encrypt chats. One idea I personally really like about it is that it also offers apps for your computer. That means I can switch between my mobile phone and my computer during chats. I like this because this is one particular feature I sorely missed in WhatsApp. Some parts of Telegram are open source.
Encrypted text messages with TextSecure
The third option I want to present is TextSecure. This takes a slightly different approach. It is not completely like WhatsApp but rather comparable to iMassages on the iPhone. It looks and behaves exactly like the default SMS app. That means you use it for sending text messages. Whenever you communicate with someone who also uses TextSecure your messages are sent over an encrypted channel. TextSecure is completely open source and programmed by a well known security specialist.
People talk about alternatives a lot. Honestly I don’t know which ones are good and which ones are bad. One thing I know for sure is: Any app only works if there is people to communicate with. I installed Telegram and TextSecure. So if you want to contact me you can find me there.