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Since Facebook bought Whatsapp, I'm looking for an alternative app and chat network which is able to replace their functionality. What can you recommend?

Requirements:

  • End-to-end encryption
  • group chat
  • search contacts in address book of the phone
  • Ad free
  • can cost up to € 2 once
  • share photos, videos
  • nice to have video chat
  • Android and iOS support

Are there any alternatives available?

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5  
Just to be clear, are you looking for alternative software to access the Whatsapp messaging network, or are you looking for an alternative messaging network? –  Robert Cartaino Feb 22 at 14:26
    
Erm... Another network? I do not know that it would be possible to access the whatsapp network with another client. –  Irgendw Pointer Feb 22 at 14:46
    
That's what I was trying to clarify. "Alternative software *to* Whatsapp" doesn't sound like what you want. –  Robert Cartaino Feb 22 at 15:00
1  
Another network, which is independent of whatsapp. That's what I'm looking for. A network like BBM. –  Irgendw Pointer Feb 22 at 15:37
1  
Do you mean that WhatsApp provides an end-to-end encryption? Also FYI WhatsApp encryption is not perfect: support.pandasecurity.com/blog/security/… –  Franck Dernoncourt Feb 26 at 19:02

4 Answers 4

up vote 17 down vote accepted

As a protocol, XMPP (formerly known as Jabber) would fulfill a lot of these requirements (Possibly because WhatsApp is using XMPP on the backend)

It is massively extendible, so I'm picking a specific client that covers a lot of these requirements. Its impossible to cover all since things like being able to pick a contact on your address book is because whatsapp simply uses a phone number as a username.

Other than video and group chat, any jabber client with OTR would do - I'd recommend chatsecure - it does seem to do multi user chat (though not chatrooms) without OTR, and runs on your two target platforms (and you can use pidgin or kopete on the desktop side for OTR conversations).

Its free, can send photos and videos the usual way and does everything but search contacts in address book of the phone.

Video would be covered by jingle, but I can't seem to find a good, well recommended android client outside the old obsolete google talk.

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Telegram:

  • A fast and secure messaging alternative to WhatsApp.
  • Focus is on speed and security.
  • This free app supports group chats and you can even share videos upto 1 GB size.
  • All your messages are in the cloud and you can easily access them from any of your devices.
  • Telegram's 'Secret Chats' feature offers end-to-end encryption.
  • With Secret Chats ON, nothing is logged on its servers and you can automatically program the messages to self-destruct from both devices if needed.
  • Platforms: Android and iOS (official support), Linux, Windows, Chrome (unofficial support)

Official Twitter Page.

Apparently over 1.8 million people joined it yesterday 22/02/2014

Also:

At present there is currently a contest running until March 1st 2014 I believe:

$200,000 to the hacker who can break Telegram.

EDIT:

Articles of Interest:

Other Apps that may interest you include:

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1  
I do not recommend Telegram. It uses its own encryption scheme not based on well established protocols. This is a no-no in computer security, for the simple reason that writing secure encryption code is hard. Protocols need to be pounded on by others to make sure that they are good enough. Software manufacturers should only use proven encryption protocols (security.stackexchange.com/questions/25835/…) and use them properly (schneier.com/essay-028.html). –  Jan Doggen Feb 24 at 12:21
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@JanDoggen I'm not a Telegram user, but "not based on well established protocols" ? What about AES, RSA, DH, SHA-1.... Maybe you confused encryption and communications protocol? Their communications protocol is custom: "In order to achieve reliability on weak mobile connections as well as speed when dealing with large files (...), MTProto uses an original approach." The whole protocol seems open and well documented. So no security through obscurity here. Clients are open source, server will be soon, says Wikipedia. –  Duvrai Feb 24 at 15:22
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There's still a debate about the security at e.g. unhandledexpression.com/2013/12/17/… and cryptofails.com/post/70546720222/…. The way it's going it looks like things are improving. The contest helps. –  Jan Doggen Feb 25 at 8:24

I recently started using Jitsi and it seems to offer what you are looking for. You can read about their use of OTR (off the record) here.

Let's see how it stacks up against your criteria:

  • End-to-end encryption - Yes
  • group chat - Yes
  • search contacts in address book of the phone - No
  • Ad free - Yes
  • can cost up to € 2 once - It is free
  • share photos, videos - Yes
  • nice to have video chat - Yes
  • Android support - Yes (alpha-version)
  • iOS support - No

I use it on my Windows, Mac, and Android phone but I don't think it supports the iPhone (which might mean it does not work for you).

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I use KakaoTalk (free). It has all the features you required except end-to-end encryption and personally I like that it's available on Windows and Mac.

It's the main instant message application in South Korea:

KakaoTalk reached 57 million users registered on August 2012. On average, 24 million users are estimated to be using the app on a daily basis and over 3.4 billion messages are sent every day.

enter image description here

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