we shared the results from our yesterday poll, Which is your preferred messenger app? Nearly two thousand readers of ours took part in the survey, and shared their preference, allowing us to draw some conclusions. For starters, Whatsapp is by and far the most popular chat client among our users, followed by (Facebook) Messenger, Telegram, BBM, and Viber.
So what makes these special? With some, it's their ubiquity, meaning that they can count on their friends and family to be available for chat. With others, it's a particular, special feature that makes them worthwhile. So we sat back and thought hard about what it is exactly that draws people to any of the aforementioned five and identified one standout feature of each.
1. WhatsApp: The world in your palm
Believe it or not, WhatsApp offers nothing really unique in terms of features. It is by far the largest community, however, which is what really sets it aside from the rest. As of September 2015, WhatsApp boasts a user base of over 900 million monthly active users, which is downright incredible. So if you're looking for nothing more than just a a simple platform to chat away on, then WhatsApp is probably your best bet.
Download WhatsApp : Android
| Windows Phone
2. (Facebook) Messenger: GIFs overload!
While WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook, the social media giant has its own Messenger, which, naturally, is almost as ubiquitous as WhatsApp. That's no surprise, seeing as how it's hooked up directly to your Facebook profile and allows you to chat with all your Facebook friends.
As far as standout features go, however, we have to pick Messenger's extremely thorough support for GIFs (in partnership with Giphy), which have emerged as a community favorite, despite being a relatively outdated piece of tech. In any case, since all the GIFs in Messenger's database are tagged, you can literally
3. BBM: Retracting message
Deleting your messages is a pretty standard feature with most any chat platforms, but BlackBerry's BBM app goes a very meaningful step farther: retractable messages.
In simple terms, if you delete a message you sent to a given contact on, say Facebook Messenger, it'll disappear on your side, but the person on the other end will still see it. Obviously, that's far from ideal, so what BBM does is kill off that potentially embarrassing line on both ends. As long as the other side hasn't already read it, you can be sure that BBM just saved you a lot of grief.
4. Telegram: Security
Telegram emerged in the midst of all the NSA snooping-related scandals as the secure alternative that promises to encrypt each and every piece of communication and protect your privacy. As most other chat apps offer comparably rudimentary security, Telegram has since grown into a name in this category, even though its 63 million monthly active users (as of May 2015) is a drop in the bucket when looking at the big picture. Still, if you value your privacy, Telegram is where it's at.
Download Telegram : Android
| Windows Phone
5. Viber: Desktop clients
The definitive standout feature of Viber is its support for desktop platforms, including Windows, Mac, and Linux. The amount of convenience this adds is obviously dependent on how much time you spend in front of the computer, but the greater speed of typing on its own should be a reason good enough to grab the desktop client. Best of all, this saves you from having to constantly fiddle with your smartphone in order to check out and answer incoming messages.
Download Viber : Android
| Windows Phone