Let’s start with my list of requirements for the perfect chat tool:
- Mobile, Browser, and App form factors
- Easy images (especially memes)
- Video conferencing on demand
- Group chat
- SMS Integration
- End-to-end encryption
- Broad distribution (Everyone has it)
Ultimately, I want a one-stop shop. Alas, I cannot find exactly what I want.
Some of the candidates:
- Mighty Text
Telegram actually has a really nice interface. However, the problem is that not enough people have telegram. We started using it as a family (and like it) but good luck using it with anyone else. It’s basically like Slack, but more mobile-centric with a nice UI. It satisfies all of my requirements except #5 (SMS) and #7 (Broad Distribution).
Google Hangouts is nearly ubiquitous, but doesn’t support #5 SMS or #6 (encryption).
Slack is like Telegram. Good for known small groups.
Google Messages now has a browser version (but not an app version). It’s SMS, but doesn’t do encryption or video. You use Allo for video. Google has utterly confused me as a chat customer. I don’t know which tool for what. I wish they would just combine Hangouts, Messages and Allo into ONE tool. Why do they have so many options?
In the end, nothing is satisfying all of my requirements. Google could do it if they combined some products. Telegram/Slack could do it if they supported SMS.
Chat is one of the killer apps of the internet. You’d think that combining them all into one would be high on the developer priority list. Let’s cross our fingers.