By Leon van der Veen on Friday February 21, 2014 2:40 am

Mobile chat apps like WhatsApp, Viber and Facebook are taking over mobile communication, replacing texting (SMS) and phone calls. WhatsApp is the biggest player in mobile communication in The Netherlands and most of Europe. WhatsApp's user base grows with roughly one million users a day world wide. But the resent acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook (involving 16 billion dollars) creates a fear for privacy issues. People start doubting if they want to keep using WhatsApp. I suggest a cool alternative: Telegram!

After the news about Facebook taking over WhatsApp I started questioning if I should keep using WhatsApp myself. Especially with the resent NSA scandals and the fact that WhatsApp's security is pretty depressing. After searching for alternatives I found apps like Viber and Threema. But my eye fell on Telegram.

Telegram is an open-source, cloud based, fast and secure (mobile) chat application for Android and iOS. Like WhatsApp, Telegram uses a phone number as your account ID. It's build on top of the open-source MTProto protocol, created by the same people. People can create their own Telegram/MTProto applications because it's open-source. A good example is the unofficial Telegram for Desktop (tdesktop.com) application, a desktop version of the mobile Telegram app. Making it possible to use Telegram on your desktop!

Telegram has some really cool features:

  • It's secure, all communication is encrypted:
    • Client-client using AES (256 bits)
    • Client-server using RSA (2048 bits)
  • Secure Chats: a private conversation between two people, with an extra layer of security. Communication is secured using a shared key determined by Diffle Hellman. Man-In-The-Middle attacks can be prevented by comparing an image interpertation of the shared key. Secure Chats can not be decrypted by anyone but the people in the conversation. It's ideal for sharing sensitive data such as passwords and bank information. Secure Chats also prevent forwarding of messages and has a possibility to auto destroy the messages after a certain time.
  • Support for groups chats, up to 200 people.
  • Support file transfers.
  • Emoticons, same as used by WhatsApp.
  • A clear and clean interface.

Telegram feels fast and a professional alternative to WhatsApp. The possibilities to start Secure Chats, the fact it's always secure and the clean and great interface make it really easy to replace WhatsApp with Telegram! It can do everything what WhatsApp can, but better. The only problem with Telegram is that it's new, meaning most of your contacts are not using it... yet!

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