Secure messengers for business
Updated: January 12, 2020
2019. Messaging app Wire raises $8.2M
Wire, an enterprise-focused end-to-end encrypted messaging service, has quietly raised $8.2 million. Besides, it moved its holding company to the US from Luxembourg and is planning to introduce a freemium tier to its existing consumer service — which itself has half a million users — while working on a larger round of funding to fuel more growth of its enterprise business — a key reason for moving to the US. For now Wire is keeping the rest of its operations as is. Customers are licensed and serviced from Wire Switzerland; the software development team is in Berlin, Germany; and hosting remains in Europe.
2019. BlackBerry Messenger was discontinued (for consumers)
Indonesian media company Emtek, that acquired BlackBerry Messenger in 2016 announced that BBM is discontinued. Launched in 2005, for many years, BBM was considered BlackBerry’s strongest product, with some loyalists eschewing Android and iOS devices before it was finally ported over to those operating systems in 2013. But competition ultimately proved too much. Technology and the world moved away from BBM and BlackBerry at large. The rewards, it seems, weren’t worth the resources. Notably, the secure enterprise service BBM Enterprise will live on for business users.
2019. Telegram now allows to kill chat history
Telegram has added a feature that lets a user delete messages in one-to-one and/or group private chats, after the fact, and not only from their own inbox. The feature allows a user to selectively delete their own messages and/or messages sent by any/all others in the chat. To delete a message from both ends a user taps on the message, selects ‘delete’ and then they’re offered a choice of ‘delete for [the name of the other person in the chat or for ‘everyone’] or ‘delete for me’. Selecting the former deletes the message everywhere, while the later just removes it from your own inbox.
2018. WhatsApp launched encrypted group video calls
WhatsApp has supported video calling since 2016, but calls were, until now, limited to two participants. With the latest change, the app is upping its support to four total participants. That's a fairly modest increase, particularly compared to other services. Facebook Messenger supports group video calls of up to 50, while Skype supports 25 participants. But the feature is likely more challenging for WhatsApp than some of its competitors. Its video calls, like other messages sent within the app, are end-to-end encrypted by default, for one thing. The company also needs to ensure new features are optimized for people with slower connections and older devices.
2017. Viber introduced secret chats with self-destructing messages
Viber for iOS and Android got an update today that brings “Secret Chats” to the service for the first time. Like Snapchat, Facebook, Telegram and many others before it, Viber now enables its users to set a timer for their messages, after which they will self-destruct. The new feature also alerts a user if the person to whom they are talking takes a screenshot — that’s another feature that Snapchat pioneered. Viber appears to be pushing its security credentials in a bit to differentiate itself from the rest. It added end-to-end encryption and hidden chats last year.
2017. Encrypted messenger Signal adds voice and video calling
A new beta version of Signal, the encrypted chat application, has enabled voice and video calling. According to the app’s changelog, beta users are able to try the new feature with others who also have the setting enabled. Though aimed at the privacy-minded, Signal competes more broadly with apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Google Duo, all of which support video calling. These features are now considered table stakes for those entering the messaging app space with their own alternative clients. Signal may be catching up with the rest of the market, in terms of feature set, but the app struggles with adoption because it lacks the network effects of other, more social apps. This, of course, is by design. Because of its security and privacy focus, Signal doesn’t pull in your contacts from other social networks, upload your address book, or offer fun tools like Snapchat’s Snapcodes to make adding new friends easier.