After Facebook bought WhatsApp 5 days ago, a good percentage of users now tries to find an other messaging service. Of course services with more users are more interesting for them, so the big question now is, who will make the race for the leaving users?

To be fair, I divided the messaging services in two categories: Encrypted open source and encrypted closed source. I hope that open source services will become big players against whatsApp, because they can be checked for security holes and privacy issues by everyone, and normally there is no big company behind them, which tries to make profit from the service. So if you want to switch to an other service I would suggest open source, but right now, the closed source apps are mostly  available for more platforms and have a larger user base right now. You have to decide, what’s more important for you.

Open Source

search statistics open source whatsApp alternatives
search statistics open source whatsApp alternatives
App namesize of userbaseplattformsgroup chatattach- mentsuser friendlyencrypted
TextSecure> 500.000
SureSpot> 100.000
ChatSecure> 100.000
Kontalk> 10.000


I use TextSecure for over a year now. It is a stable app, with lots or settings and a team behind, who knows what they are doing. They are a featured App of the guardian project and exist for four years now. I mentioned TextSecure in my previous blog post four days ago, but back then the app only used SMS for communication. Now the App is an all-rounder, and works for SMS as well as the internet. They support group chat and attachments, I couldn’t find anything I would miss compared to WhatsApp except of the profile pictures (they use the ones that are stored on your phone), but that is really good. It shows how important privacy is to them. The app encrypts everything, there is no normal and encrypted chat. Encrypted is normal. I think this major update will give the App a boost in users. The App is right now only available for Android, but a version for Mac and the desktop should come within the next months. For a full list of features take a look at this post.

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As you can see SureSpot got a lot of search queries since Facebook bought WhatsApp. This App does not feel that smooth, when starting the first time, but seems to be rather powerful. SureSpot wants even less data from you than TextSecure. They need to skim your contacts to find friend, in SureSpot you have to send requests to friends, similar like you would do in MSN, Skype or ICQ. This is on one hand really nice,  because you don’t have to fear, that they will store data of you, but on the other hand, it takes some time to find all friends. Other than that, SureSpot also has an encrypted local storage and supports audio messages. Once again it was not possible for me to take screenshots in the app.

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ChatSecure is ambitious  program, which tries probably a bit too hard to implement as many features as possible without talking care of a clean, consistent UI. It is very powerful and uses only open standards, which makes it possible to use existing server structures and chats to other programs like pidgin for the desktop. It is for people, who know what they are doing and don’t care about the UI, not for the average mobile phone user. Sadly it also does not support group chat, but it has almost anything else you could want. This app is also featured by the guardian project, which is really worth a visit , if you are concerned about your privacy.

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Kontalk is a nice little program, with some great ideas for decentralized servers. They try to implement XMPP right now, and a new version will come out soon, so there will be a lot of changes in this app. Even though, I think they are doing a great job, they didn’t manage to be present and visible for those, who tried to find an alternative. If you look at the search statistics, they couldn’t manage to pull off, like SureSpot did. Maybe they manage to get in as a big player, but I fear it won’t happen. As for a short feature description: End to end encryption, no group chat, but with the next version they will support to chat with desktop programs too.

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Closed Source

search statistics closed source whatsApp alternatives
search statistics closed source whatsApp alternatives
App namesize of userbaseplattformsgroup chatattach- mentsuser friendlyencrypted
Threema> 400.000
telegram> 20 million
BBM> 40 million


Threema won a lot of new users in the last week. The app costs 1,60€, but has no costs afterwards. What is really cool about that App is, that their servers are in Switzerland, so your data is pretty secure. They also can’t read any of the messages you are sending, because of their always activated end-to-end encryption. It does support group chat, and is especially interesting, if you are living in Germany. There,  Threema has lots of users, so probably some friends of you, will have it too.

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Telegram has almost the same look and feel as WhatsApp. It is developed by the founders of vk, the largest Russian social network. Telegram is for free and supports many platforms. Part of the code is open source, so that developers, can add plugins to the app. It supports group chat, and encryption, but not the combination of the two. Also concerning the encryption it isn’t sure, that it has no security holes, because the app is rather young (half a year). From my perspective, it feels a bit like giving your data Russia instead of the United States.

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BlackBerryMessenger (BBM)

The BlackBerry Messenger uses like SureSpot pins instead or phone numbers for authentication, so BlackBerry does not receive your contacts. It has a lot of additional features, like voice over IP (like Skype or Viber) and group chat. Right now, BBM is available for BlackBerry, Android and iOS, a WindowsPhone will come this summer. All in all, it seems, like BBM is a good choice for people who want to protect their privacy.

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Hemlis is a messenger, that tries to be as secure as possible. It is developed by Peter Sunde (one of the founders of piratebay) and two other guys. They will make some of code open source, but not all of it.  The App hasn’t been released yet, but will be probably worth a look!

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