Instant Messaging in 2016

Original Thread:

We did our episode on how one aspect of IM has gotten far worse rather than better due to the fracturing of the market. Networks don’t interoperate and anyone with a wide social circle is forced to navigate multiple services, many of which are awful.

Google has killed the Hangouts API

Hangouts is overall the most functional IM Google has. Duo and Allo are both barely used and less featured. I worry they’ll roll hangouts entirely into one of the two and basically ruin what little ecosystem I’ve managed to cobble together…

This blows. Thankfully I’d only really began to be the driving force bringing my friends on board the hangouts train. If I hit the breaks they all go back to using sms and not ideal but… kinda works, I guess.

Signal by Open Whisper Systems is the best.

It doesn’t have the Hangouts embedded goodness such as video calls and audio calls but it is more than competent at being a text based chat that is properly encrypted.

Can act as SMS as well.
Properly encrypted packets not like iMessage which encrypts then signs each packet (making the signing of each packet useless).

Saves chat history and you can encrypt and export a chat log which can only be decrypted using your private key / cert which is only known to you (like it should be).

The keys are not known or accessible by the company unlike Apple everything or with Google’s Allo when using the non private setting. Even though WhatsApp uses Open Whisper system’s Signal protocol, unless you ticked a box during the June/July all messages can be read by Facebook who must have your key to do so. Prior to that June / July period Facebook didn’t meddle with WhatsApp security. Now it’s useless as even though you may have denied Facebook access to your key other people would not have known about setting this option. Many muggles use it thinking that Facebook is not involved when in fact they are “improving your Facebook advertisement experience”.

Telegram has a very nice front end and hyped up their security but they rolled their own encryption and their protocol was found to be severely lacking.

Haven’t used the other ones yet. Wickr is supposed to be good but the chat is ephemeral.

The app on iPhone at least is pretty slow and buggy. Plus you are limited to 10 people max per chat.

Do we have a verdict on Hangouts vs Whisper?
If we’re going to go with one or the other for our mostly convention-going purposes?

I like the idea of the security Whisper has, but Hangouts has so much functionality.

[quote=“adam, post:6, topic:310”]
[/quote]Do you mean Signal, by Open Whisper Systems? That’s the secure one by Moxie. I know there’s another app just called Whisper.

I would put effort into coordinating a mass-exodus from hangout, HOWEVER, it has to work on the mobile and the desktop. That’s really the only major problem with Allo. Where is the desktop client? I would really like to switch to iMessage, but it needs a desktop client that works on Win/Linux and not just OSX. This is still the thing that Hangouts does that nothing else seems to do. You can get your messages no matter what screen you are currently looking at.

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You were seeing my RTs of the Joinery.

I haven’t tried it but …

It seems that there is something basic that I’m missing. Slack and Skype (trash) both do this. I’m reasonably sure I can trivially find more with both desktop and mobile clients. Why do you say hangouts is the only one that does this?

Skype is primarily a voice chat service with text chat as a side-feature. Using Skype for your text messaging is no bueno.

Slack is IRC designed for business. It’s not even close to replacing something like Hangout.

Hangout is designed primarily for one on one text messaging. It also is great for small group messaging. It works on every device.

Slack’s IRC for business seems more aligned for what we’d want. Anyone who’s used it have an opinion?

I hoped would eventually add Messages, but no luck there.

I only like using Slack at work. In every other circumstance it’s business-first nature just gets in the way. The free version is especially lacking, and it’s too expensive for anyone to pay for it. We’d be better off with just actual IRC. However, that is a system meant for chat room. While it supports direct person to person messaging, that is not its primary function. It’s UI is not well suited towards that purpose.

It’s how my office communicates. It has a mobile client, and it really is very similar to IRC (plus has an IRC plugin) it would work, sort of as a text only communication between friends. You’d have to get comfortable with a different way of trying to talk to one and only one person.

Relevant: xkcd: Team Chat

Gubment uses Microsoft Lync. It’s ok, but needs work when we do online training. I like how I can hunt down employees across the nation.

As always there are people who barely know how to freaking use it/utilize it.

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I forced my company to Hangouts, and it’s the official and primary means of communication within the company across the offices.

About 1/3 of the company seems incapable of using IM in any fashion. The rest use it constantly.

We used Jabber but it did a poor job of pushing messages to all logged in user instances. Those that actually used IM switched to Mattermost, primarily because it’s free and came with GitLab.

Yeah this was what I was alluding to in my post about Telegram, it has everything else going for it except the security is trash.

Also Signal can be used on desktop via a Chrome webapp.

Works fine.