Is it any wonder that authorities in governments around the world want to control how their citizens communicate with one another? There are dozens and dozens of messaging apps and some of them are used by over 1-billion people.
For Mac users the choices are fewer but you’re likely to find one that works perfectly for your needs. That means a Mac app which connects to and communicates with others– anywhere else in the world– and does so securely and without government intervention. Here’s a look at three we use in the Miller clan.
What’s My Line?
Right at the top allow me to squeeze in a plug for Apple’s own Messages and FaceTime apps. Both come with every Mac (and iPhone and iPad). They’re easy to setup and use and connect well to anyone else running an Apple device. We use them extensively to communicate to friends and family; Messages for texting, and FaceTime for voice and video calls.
Despite the fact that Apple has over 1-billion customers who could use Messages and FaceTime, usage numbers pale when compared to two other popular messaging services, LINE, and WhatsApp. LINE is very popular in the Mideast and Asia and works much like a mashup of Messages and FaceTime. Use LINE to connect to other LINE users with voice and video calls, text messaging, file sharing, and even group calls.
LINE has apps for nearly every platform, from Mac and Windows to iOS and Android, but also Windows Phone and BlackBerry. The messaging component in LINE has 10,000 stickers and emoticons and a Sticker Shop.
Even more people worldwide use WhatsApp for texting and file sharing than LINE. The app runs on iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia as well as a native Mac and Windows app.
WhatsApp’s feature list isn’t as extensive as LINE, but you can setup group chats, send photos and videos to other WhatsApp users, and even share locations.
Check out the Mac App Store for even more WhatsApp utilities.
I didn’t list Facebook’s own Messenger app because there isn’t one for the Mac. Yet. Word on the streets is that Facebook is working on a dedicated Messenger app, but you can get much the same thing by adding Jabber to your list of messaging services in the Messages app.
Most of these messaging apps are secure in one way or another. Apple claims end-to-end encryption without a key so snooping government spooks won’t be able to see your messages unless they have your device. Ditto for WhatsApp and LINE.
Yes, there are dozens of other messaging and communication apps, including Skype, but you get the idea. Secure communication with others anywhere else in the world is becoming the norm, despite government attempts to block usage, or to pressure social networks to conform to totalitarian laws.