Many smartphone users in India have joined the instant messaging squad in recent times, especially after Reliance Jio gave free voice and 4G data to at least 72 million users. Even when Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are the two obvious choices for instant messaging, other chat apps such as Reliance’s JioChat and Telegram have made a mark due to their distinct features. JioChat has 10-50 million installs on Play store whereas Telegram app has already crossed 100 million marks on the Android store. Rashi Varshney checks out the various features of these messaging apps.
If you are a smartphone user, there is 99.9% chance that you are a member of at least one WhatsApp group. While WhatsApp allows you to add 256 members in a group, the JioChat app allows up to 500 members in a chat group. In Telegram, users can add over 5000 members in a SuperGroup, whereas Facebook Messenger app allows group video chat with maximum of six users.
Payment within Chat
One of the key features in JioChat is peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfer within the app. The feature allows JioChat users to transfer money directly to other users through chats. For this, Jio has integrated its payment app JioMoney with users’ JioChat accounts. To use the feature, Jio has added a rupee icon on the chat window, right next to the enter chat button. Users can use the button and can enter the amount and send it like a regular text message. While Facebook Messenger recently enabled payments feature in its app in US, it is unclear if it will come to India anytime soon. WhatsApp is expected to add payment facility via its app in India this year.
Large file sharing
All the top-rated instant messaging apps allow users to share files like pdf, doc, xls, mp3, apk, emoticons, doodles, pictures, videos, audio notes. While JioChat does not have any feature to share heavy files, Whatsapp supports third-party apps like Google Drive, OneDrive, iCloud and you can upload files and share via messages. Facebook Messenger supports Dropbox for sharing heavy files. Telegram allows sharing of heavy files in various formats.
News and Trends
The JioChat app lets you stay updated on news and current affairs with bite-sized video stories from its media partners, specially curated for JioChat users. In WhatsApp, a user get a Google thumbnail while typing a message, and can search weather update and can have a look at trending news, and can share it with friends. The Telegram app has public channels where people can broadcast content to the general public. In Messenger, users can use third-party app like Flipboard, which allow users to share articles in the chat app.
Chat with brands
One of the interesting features of JioChat is that it allow users to follow popular brands and companies via its channels tab in the app. Users can follow these channels to know the latest trends, promotional offers, deals etc. Telegram messenger has a similar feature, where users can interact with brands or companies. WhatsApp for Business, which will allow users to engage with small businesses in their vicinity, is still in the lab phase.
Security, secret, unsend
In terms of security of your conversations, WhatsApp has end-to-end encrypted by default. In JioChat app as well, all the messages are secured with QuArKStechnology for end-to-end encryption. Facebook Messenger does not have encryption by default, but it has a secret conversation mode which will do so and the messages will get deleted after sometime. Similarly in the Telegram app, end-to-end encryption is supported only in the secret chat mode. The latest feature in Telegram also allows users to ‘unsend’ a message. A user can delete or retrieve a message within two days of sending. Telegram’s unsend feature works within one-to-one and group messaging scenarios, and has to be enacted within the 48-hour window.