When Facebook bought WhatsApp for $28 billion, which is easily one of the biggest corporate acquisitions in recent years, there’s no denying that there is something special about the instant messaging enterprise. WhatsApp has about 450 million active users while Facebook says that about 874 million members send and receive instant messages via the Facebook Messenger tool. Both figures would total to over a billion users sending and receiving instant messages.
Now that Facebook owns WhatsApp, almost everyone is on their toes, waiting and seeing how Facebook intends to utilize the most widely used instant messaging application in the world.
But what if you don’t want Mark Zuckerberg and his underlings to have something to do with the way you communicate with the rest of the world? Are you willing to drop WhatsApp for something else? Fortunately, there are 6 instant messaging services out there that can do what WhatsApp has been doing. And they are no slouch either. Check them out.
Founded in 2009 and launched in 2010, Kik has become a go-to instant messaging tool for many people. In fact, Kik has more than 100 million users from all over the world, a clear sign that the messaging app does not only have what it takes to deliver the services it promised, but also has that massive appeal that many people get attracted to.
In addition to just messages, Kik also enables users to share data, photos, sketches, and voice messages. Members may also enjoy group conversations (up to 9 members) as well as send offline messages. Kik works well with iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry and Symbian, which explains Kik’s wide popularity among a diverse sets of users.
Another instant messaging platform that deserves attention is WeChat. Shortly after Facebook acquired WhatsApp, mentions of WeChat as a better platform skyrocketed dramatically. Developed by China-based Tencent Holdings, WeChat is a cross-platform supported by a myriad of operating systems including Android, iOS, Symbian, and Windows.
Thanks to WeChat’s multiple language support (English, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and Russian), there are over 600 million people who use WeChat, significantly more than the registered users of WhatsApp making WeChat one of the most widely used instant messaging solutions in the market today. In fact, many observers believe that WeChat is the biggest threat to the team-up that is Facebook and WhatsApp.
With 300 registered members, LINE is an extremely popular instant messaging service, particularly in Asia. That said, LINE is also available in 231 countries globally. Like many of its contemporaries, LINE allows its users to do more than just send instant messages. Among the few things users can do with LINE is sharing audio and video content as well as calling each other via VoIP for free.
LINE is currently free and is available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone. LINE is also compatible with Windows PCs and Mac OS X.
Another popular instant messaging solution today, Viber serves more than 200 million users worldwide. Initially created for iPhone users, Viber has morphed into a messaging powerhouse widely available to a lot of people, thanks to its compatibility with a myriad of operating systems other than just iOS. Viber also supports a dozen languages, making it a global hit for many smartphone and Internet users. Viber has been recently bought out for $900 million by a Japan-based ecommerce and Internet company Rakuten.
While Viber carries similar features as other instant messaging services such as video and audio sharing, this messaging giant also offers some premium options. These functions include group messages for up to 100 people and voice calling. Viber is free, but unlike other free versions of instant messaging providers, you won’t see any ads in the interface, giving members a clean and unobstructed experience.
While Blackberry is on a decline, there are still quite a few people out there who still own and use Blackberry devices, which is why BBM (Blackberry Messenger) remains to be a popular instant messaging service around. 80 million people still use BBM for their instant messaging needs, but you can just imagine just how many were out there when the mobile phone company was still on top of the game a few years ago.
Today, BBM users still enjoy a robust set of features that include voice calls, sharing photos and videos and even sending audio files. Premium options like BBM Channels are available as well.
#6 Google Hangouts
Google is poised to dominate anything and everything that is related to mobile communication, smartphone, and internet, so it is no wonder that the tech company has its eyes on instant messaging as well. Accessible via Android, Gmail, and Google+, Hangouts is quickly becoming a popular instant messaging platform for individuals who are always connected to the Internet via their Google account.
Hangouts allows you to talk with your buddies in real time, discuss your business proposal with your bosses in New York even if you are in San Francisco, and share documents and other media files with ease. These are just some of the things you can do with Hangouts. And because all you need is a Google account, almost everyone in the world can easily use Hangouts as their instant messaging platform. However, Hangouts is still not as widespread as WeChat or WhatsApp.