Facebook Messenger is the mobile version of the famous social media website, and it was launched in 2011, for iOS, Android and BlackBerry OS, while Windows Phone 8 received it only in March 2014. WhatsApp came in 2009, but it was bought by Facebook in 2014, for the sum of 19 billion dollars. Combined, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp control 79 percent of the IM market, and they will co-exist in perfect harmony. But it’s hard to decide which application to install, while they’re both so feature-rich and useful!
Until a few years ago, traditional SMS texting kept mobile phone users occupied, but their plans were limited, so they sent only certain number of messages, to their friends using the same cellular network. Later, when free messaging applications appeared, the providers had to come up with affordable mobile data plans, then they lowered the prices and added more megabytes to the data plans.
Applications like Skype, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or Viber have lured more and more people to register and currently, hundreds of millions of users are checking their accounts daily, to send messages to their friends. But our battle is between Facebook and WhatsApp, the applications owned by Zuckerberg.
Facebook Messenger is free to use and can be downloaded from the Google Play store or App Store. First, you will need to register on the Facebook website, using an email address and a password, which you’ll enter on Facebook app in order to log into your account. You will manually add friends by searching for their names and sending a friend request. As long as your account is active, you will chat for free, post photos, statuses, comment to your friends’ posts etc.
When installing WhatsApp, you will use your mobile number to verify your account. In the first year, the application will be free, then an annual fee of 0.99 dollars will be applied, and you will pay via PayPal or credit card. This is the only fee you’ll pay, because WhatsApp’s employees have bills to pay and they don’t work for free. But the good news is that WhatsApp doesn’t display ads.
WhatsApp’s design is a bit disappointing and it needs a major UI overhaul, even if the recent versions brought some small changes. The app still looks cheap, but it’s simple to use and at the top, you can see three merged tabs representing Calls, Chats and Contacts. When tapping on Calls, you will be able to call any of your contacts; the Chats button contains your chat history and the Contacts button contains your list of friends.
Facebook uses blue and white colors and an intuitive interface. You can see three sections – Chat Logs which has a clock symbol, Contacts with a head symbol and Settings has a cog symbol. “Contacts” is divided into two categories: “Messenger”, which shows your list of friends who are using the application, and “Active” shows the friends who are using the website, but they’re online.
On Facebook Messenger you can send messages containing texts, images, videos, audio files, you can make voice calls and yesterday, voice calling was expanded globally. Also, you can search for images using Bing, and you can send location updates to contacts. WhatsApp supports voice calling, but this feature is at its infancy and eats a lot of data. However, for now, you can share your location, send contact details to another WhatsApp friend and messages containing photos, videos and audio files.
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