Which instant messenger is better: Facebook or WhatsApp?
SMS as a messaging service is losing its foothold on the “chat” market. SMS’s cost money and limit the number of characters you can use in a message – the more characters you use, the more you pay. Instant messaging apps, however, have a far more appealing model, which is why so many people prefer them over SMS. The downside to IM apps is that there are so many of them. Here, we put the two giants up against each other: WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
No, you don’t need to be in Facebook to use the Messenger – it’s now a separate app on its own. And why distinguish between the two now that Facebook has bought WhatsApp for $19 million? Mark Zuckerberg promised users that even though Facebook had acquired WhatsApp, that the green messaging machine would stay as-is (for now) and that WhatsApp and Messenger would continue to co-exist with no cross over… for the foreseeable future.
So which one is better? Let’s have a look:
1. Mobile platforms
Both WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are available on iOS and Android, as well as on BlackBerry and Nokia phones, and provide a seamless experience, no matter which handset you have.
2. Cost vs. Free
WhatsApp doesn’t show ads in the app, but it does cost users $0.99 per year to use it. While that’s certainly not going to break anyone’s bank account, Facebook Messenger is free. Contrary to assumption, this hasn’t diminished WhatsApp’s share of users – we’re simply too used to communicating so instantly and easily on WhatsApp, and it doesn’t really make much of a difference to pay $0.99 for an annual subscription.
3. Design and interface
Facebook Messenger is the clear winner in the UI department and it’s obviously been worked on and updated to give users a visually appealing experience. WhatsApp, on the other hand, hasn’t changed much in its last few years of operation, and is in dire need of a visual upgrade. The die-hards don’t really care what it looks like – as long as it keeps on working like WhatsApp.
4. Features and functionality
WhatsApp is ahead in this department. In both apps, you can send messages, pictures, as well as audio messages. However, in WhatsApp (and not in Facebook Messenger), you can send your GPS location and also send Contact cards and videos across the network.
If you’ve routinely used WhatsApp because all of your main contacts are there and using it too, then there’s no reason to change. However, if you’re a serial Facebook user and a die-hard for the brand, it may be worth giving WhatsApp a squizz – they both belong to the same company after all!