October 5th, 2015
Messaging: Telegram vs Whatsapp
As you might already know, Whatsapp had been acquired by Facebook in October 2014, just a quarter ago for a whopping $19 billion. At the time of the acquisition, WhatsApp was notably the most globally used messaging service. It had more than 600 million monthly active users, stretching from from Europe, to South America and even in Asia. What you might not know, is that with the acquisition, it is unclear how Facebook could use or mine the messages exchanged between users. What I would safely conclude, is this – if you are an avid user of Facebook and Whatsapp, Facebook now technically have a good view of you – using your mobile phone number, it will be able to piece together all the information that had transpired between you and the people in your life.
Quite a scary thought. In the recent months, Whatsapp had also introduced “auditing” capabilities in Whatsapp so that you can know what had been sent, when it was received, when it was read, and by who. This is especially powerful – when your boss or super-sensitive friend catches you reading the oh-so-important whatsapp message, and did not reply in a timely manner. Personally, it would be an invasion of privacy, and a source of contention when it comes to deciding and prioritising your replies to different people, whether they be your spouse, close friends or just mere acquaintances.
According to Whatsapp:
“Check marks will appear next to each message you send. Here is what each one indicates:
- message successfully sent.
- message successfully delivered to the recipient’s phone.
- the recipient has read your message.
In a group chat, the second check marks will appear when all participants in the group have received your message. The two blue check marks will appear when all participants in the group have read your message.”
In addition, if you are in a group:
For any message that you send, you will be able to see a Message Info screen, displaying the details of when your message was delivered, read or played by the recipient(s).
To see the Message Info screen:
- Open a chat with a contact or a group.
- Tap and hold on your sent message.
- Tap .
The Message Info screen shows:
- Delivered when your message is delivered to your recipient’s phone, but the recipient has not yet seen it.
- Read or Seen when the recipient has read your message or seen your picture, audio file, or video. For a Voice Message, the recipient has seen but has not yet played it.
- Played when the recipient has played your Voice Message.
Please note that when a participant leaves a group, the Message Info screen will still show the original information with all participants, including the participant who left the group.”
The bad news? You cannot turn this feature off! If you are not comfortable with having to deal with the time-stamping and message read status, may I recommend to you, Telegram.
There are some reasons why you may wish to consider Telegram:
1. Its graphical and user interface is very similar to Whatsapp, and hence will be super familiar to existing Whatsapp users.
2. It is relatively fast. Whatsapp is lately showing signs of overload and poor delivery response, and if this does not improve, Telegram would seemed to be the better performer.
3. It does not have the annoying read at XX:XX (time) time-stamping. This should put people who hated to be monitored at ease.
4. It is secure – The folks at Telegram are so confident about the security of Telegram, that they are offering $200,000 bounty to anyone who can break into MTProto, the backbone of Telegram communications. And the result? No one was able to break into Telegram.
5. It supports secret chats – If you want chats to auto-expire, Telegram allows you to send and receive messages that are encrypted end-to-end, and with self destruct options to boot. Just go to Contacts -> New Secret Chat, select your contact and start talking. It’s so good, that it was originally designed so that even top
6. It does not index your information for selling ads or other commercial purposes. Right now, as far as I understand, no one is indexing your data on Telegram and using it to sell you better ads or recreate your online profile. What would a company who paid 19 billion dollar do with the information it obtained from the acquisition of Whatsapp?
7. It supports mobile, web and even desktop app! Yes! Whatsapp does not support the web client (edit: and the web client announced late Jan does not support IOS), and does not even have any desktop applications, while Telegram does pretty long ago! Telegram has an online web client, a full featured software client for Windows, MacOS and Linux. There is also a portable version for Windows, for those who need to install a software without administrator rights (e.g. in your office computer).
In a nutshell, if you really care about your privacy and safety of your electronic data, perhaps it would be a good time to consider Telegram. It would be more prudent to split up your online presence with two different service provider, so that they will not be able to reconstruct your profile and mine your information for their analysis and trending.
Why not give Telegram a try today?