‘Hike’ is India’s own social and technology company. It’s the messenger app that we all know has been mostly selling graphical stickers and emoticons as its USP since the time that it first released about 5 years ago in December 2012. Talking in terms of privacy, on Hike you need to send and accept friend requests in order to chat, like how you would in Facebook. While many people might find this process cumbersome, the feature just simply makes sure that no one can send you a message unless you’ve added them in, thus ensuring safety. Random people will not be able to send you messages simply by having your phone number in their contact list. Hike also provides a feature called hidden chat which allows users to keep any particular chat that they may want private. These can only be accessed using a code. We do give our phones to people at times and they could then easily access our WhatsApp chats. With Hike, there will be an option to ensure privacy.
According to a study titled “India: A growth opportunity for app developers,” WhatsApp has more Daily Active Users (DAU) than any other communication apps in the country. With that sort of competition, it has been difficult for Hike to flourish, but that’s not the point. It’s just that if it frustrates you to be on WhatsApp considering the above news, Hike is a great alternative.
Telegram, founded by Pavel Durov from Russia, in the wake of revelations by Edward Snowden. Telegram was released in August 2013 with privacy and security as a sales pitch, when Snowden revealed the extent of the state-sponsored surveillance in the United States. The telegram was the most downloaded iPhone app in 48 countries. Also, the fact that it wasn’t American could have attracted a lot of users worldwide because as of 24 February 2014,
What makes Telegram better than WhatsApp?
Pavel Durov is so confident about this feature that he is ready to give $200,000 in bitcoins to the first person who will break Telegram’s encryption protocol. Also, when the Russian Government asked Telegram for encryption keys, Telegram declined the request. With Putin in power and the KGB unafraid of murdering defectors taking refuge in European countries, that refusal took a great deal of courage. This move made the app more popular, and many users appreciated it. Russia had later fined Telegram for the same. WhatsApp, on the other hand, is owned by Facebook, just like Instagram. This makes Facebook a monopoly. Telegram, then, sounds more reliable and solid in terms of security. Other features that make Telegram cool include the option for you to add up to 1,00,000 members in one group. WhatsApp on the other hand, limits groups to 256 members. Of course, managing a group of 100,000 members can be hell, but hey, at least you can pin messages.
Also, Telegram has these things called stickers and since expressions are so important to all of us, the stickers do a good job of going beyond regular emojis.
A Signal is the communication app that even privacy advocate Snowden recommends. According to Snowden, you can trust OWS. Coming from a man who’s escaped the NSA and is currently taking refuge in a foreign land, this amounts to something. It is probably the best app you can use if you want to ensure privacy at its best. It is owned by the software organization Open Whisper Systems.
Academy Award-winning journalist Laura Poitras, who made the documentary ‘Citizenfour’ on Snowden, also says that “Signal is the most scalable encryption tool we have… I encourage people to use it every day.” She was one of the initial three journalists to meet Edward Snowden in Hong Kong and to receive copies of the leaked NSA documents. Signal only registers your phone number and knows when you last logged in. That’s all. It does not record the time of the day, and even has a feature to allow sending messages that disappear. It allows any conversation to be configured to ‘delete’ after a specified interval.