Which is the most secure instant messaging app?

Instant messenger comparison keeping security in mind: WhatsApp vs Telegram vs WeChat vs Viber vs Skype vs hangout vs fb messenger vs hike vs allo

I always believed that there are no free lunches. For any business to sustain, there has to be some sensible explanation for how they make money!

Of all the instant messengers, WhatsApp had the simplest and best way of functioning. They would ask money whenever they required. For example, when they felt there was need for expansion and they need more capital for the new servers, they would ask money through subscription plan. This is why I had full faith in WhatsApp. They had a sound privacy policy and swore by it. But.. all good things come to an end. Facebook acquired WhatsApp.

Initially, there was no change in WhatsApp’s privacy policy, but recently they have amended their policy. And reality dawned on me. Being a privacy conscious person, I started going through privacy policies of major instant messengers. Below is my analysis on how they treat our messages and what information is shared by each of them with third-parties.

I will explain each one of these messengers one by one, starting from most secure one. (If you are impatient types, you can directly go to the end of this post to see the summary table :p )

Rank 1: Signal and Telegram

Rank 1 goes to Signal and Telegram. There are Four main reasons for ranking them first. First reason is both these messengers have sound funding mechanism. Second reason is both these apps are open source. Third reason is, there is end to end encryption for chat. Fourth and most important reason is their commitment to privacy. Telegram and Signal both mention explicitly in their Privacy Policy that they don’t share any personal\ non personal information with third-party. No.



Product of Open Whispers group. This is most secure messenger in market right now. Just to give you an idea, Edward Snowden uses this application! Also, most of the secure chats e.g. WhatsApp, Telegram Secure Chat, Allo Secure Chat, fb Messenger Secure Chat is based on Open Whispers Platform.

Signal is funded through grants and donations by different organisations such as Freedom of Press Foundation, Knight Foundation, Shuttleworth Foundation, Open Technology Fund etc.

While Telegram want to form secure alternative to email and instant messenger. Signal wants to form secure alternative to SMS and calls. And hence, SMS, instant messages and calls are end to end encrypted. Signal stores the messages on their server only till the time they are delivered to recipient.

The only problem with Signal is, their messaging is not as fast as Telegram or WhatsApp. Their application doesn’t give as smooth experience as Telegram or WhatsApp.



Telegram has pretty interesting history. It is founded by Durov brothers. They are of Russian origin and know what is the importance of privacy. Telegram as company is based out of Germany. But actually speaking, there is no single country that Telegram belongs to. It is a Global Non Commercial Project.

As far as financials are concerned, founder Pavel Durov has given financial backing to Telegram via Digital Fortress Fund. In future, if they require more money, they plan to get it via grants or donations and non-essential paid option. Telegram is non-profit seeking firm. So, they would ask money when they actually require to increase their capacity or so.

Telegram doesn’t have voice or video calling. Their aim is to form secure alternative for email and instant messaging functionality. Hence, you can send almost any sort of file via Telegram. For email, it is important that all messages are available from multiple platforms. Hence in Telegram, all messages are stored in Telegram Cloud in encrypted format. These messages can be read from multiple devices.

If you want truly secure chat, you must use “secret” chat option in Telegram. In secure chat option, messages are not stored in cloud. Secret chats are based on Open Whispers Platform. It should be noted that, normal messages are deleted from cloud, once both, sender and receiver delete those from their application.

Rank 2: WhatsApp, iMessage and Bleep

Rank 2 goes to WhatsApp, iMessage and Bleep. All these three messenger have end to end encryption by default, there is no need to select special mode for securing communication. The reason they are ranked second and not first is because these messenger share personal/non-personally identifiable information with parent companies which in turn is used for tailoring advertisement.



If you read story of WhatsApp, you will appreciate the humble beginning of revolution. I can’t stop but think how wonderful it would have been, had they carried on with their subscription mode of funding rather than selling it off to facebook.

WhatsApp account information (which is part of Personally identifiable information) will be used by Facebook for better friends suggestion, better ads and product improvement of facebook companies. Now they plan to generate revenue by introducing commercial communication option. As per WhatsApp Privacy Policy, in Commercial Messaging, Third Party Business communication will be facilitated by WhatsApp. But, policy doesn’t speak explicitly about information that will be shared with Third Party.

The good part is, even now, they have maintained some fundamental principles intact. Even now, chats and calls are end to end encrypted and facebook can’t read them. Setting aside the commercial communication plan, WhatsApp scores pretty good on privacy front.



With iMessage, Apple has built seamless experience for SMS and instant messaging. It uses multiple keys mechanism so that messages are available on multiple devices and yet end to end encrypted. This mechanism is ingenious!

Apple envisions hardware and software completely integrated. So, they have already baked the pricing for software development in their iPhones and iPad. This is why separate revenue model is not required for different services by apple.



Bleep is owned by US based BitTorrent. Like torrents, Bleep uses P2P mechanism to deliver message. There is no server or cloud involved in which message is stored. Messages are end to end encrypted. On the downside, application is still in nascent stage and it doesn’t work as smooth as Telegram or WhatsApp. Revenue model of Bleep is just like torrents, Advertisement.

Rank 3: hike messenger and WeChat

Rank 3 is shared between hike messenger and WeChat. There is only one important reason that they rank better than those on Rank 4; both hike and WeChat delete messages from server once it is delivered.


Hike Messenger is owned by telecom giant Bharti Airtel. Voice calling function is also available in hike messenger. Hike gives an option of end to end encryption as added layer of privacy, but this is an opt-in feature and works only when device is connected to WiFi.


WeChat is owned by Singapore based Tencent International. Voice and Video calling is available in WeChat.

Rank 4: fb Messenger, Hangout, allo, Viber, Skype

Rank 4 belongs to Facebook Messenger, Google Hangout-allo, Viber and Microsoft Skype. All of these applications have almost identical privacy policy and almost identical way of the way messages are stored in their server. All of these apps offer voice and video calling functionality.

There is only one difference amongst these messenger. fb Messenger, Google allo and Viber offer Secret chat option in their chat clients. Secret chat works on Open Whisper Platform.

fb Messenger and Google are US based. Viber is based out of Singapore and is owned by Rakuten Conglomerate.

Rank 5: JioChat


The crown of least private messenger goes to JioChat! JioChat is owned by Indian Conglomerate, Reliance industries. This chat client offers voice and video calling functionality as well.

They don’t give any information in their privacy policy about encryption, or about duration for which messages are stored on their server. On top of this, they have some ridiculous statements in their privacy policy, read two mentioned below:

  1. “Personal Information will be kept confidential to the maximum possible extent“. (Personal information will also include email address, Physical address, Pincode etc.)
  2. [Jio] may provide your information or data to its partners, associates, advertisers, service providers or other third parties to provide, advertise or market their legitimate products”. (It doesn’t specify whether is personal information or Non-Personal.)

I wouldn’t use JioChat in my right minds.

Following is the comparison table which would sum up the article:


Off all these, Telegram is my favourite chat client. It has perfect blend of usability and privacy. It is super fast, has good sticker collection, secure chat option is pretty neat, chat bots is interesting feature, heck you can even play games in this app. WhatsApp comes close second. It depends on facebook, if they mess up privacy policy of WhatsApp even more they will lose a lot of market share.


Device Specific Messages means Messages can be only read on source device and destination device. It won’t be possible to send it from mobile and then continue conversation on web browser.

Personal Information means Personally identifiable information such as:
Phone Number and Contact Book,
Profile Name and Photo, Status Message,
Social Networking integrated public information etc.

Non Personal Information means:
Application logs and crash reports,
Device type, Carrier type, Online Status etc.

Apple, it’s time for iPhone Pro!

Being long time keen observer of mobile tech industry, I have seen how iPhone has evolved over the years. Till the launch of iPhone 6, apple has taken almost all the right steps for betterment of their iconic product. But, with force touch, apple has introduced a borderline gimmick tech in their product. Many tech blogs have compared the force touch with pinch to zoom tech. This comparison is total bullshit!

Pinch to zoom:

Mobile touchscreen is a 2D interface. It was very logical and intuitive to introduce a 2D gesture like pinch to zoom. Not only pinch to zoom, but consider other gestures used in different apple devices. For example, in iPad when you pinch with three or more fingers  all the open apps are shown in thumbnail format. In MacBook, two finger swipe will scroll the page as if you are sliding a paper. All these things are very intuitive. And that’s where apple scores! Bringing human interactions to work properly in machine interface. But this human interaction is not intuitive in case of Force Touch.

Force Touch:

I agree that it is an interesting concept. Giving 3D feel to 2D interface in itself is great achievement. But it does not and will not be anything more than niche market. There are several reasons for that:

  1. Biggest reason is, it is not intuitive.
  2. Everything which can be done by using force touch interface can be achieved through long press. When you think of Force Touch, it’s hardly any better than older method of long press.
  3. For slow learners it becomes a task to differentiate between long press and force touch.
  4. Very limited applicability: Consider how limited the scope is for implementation of force touch. Mainly cause mobile screens are basically 2D interfaces (I simply can’t emphasise it more :p)

In spite of all these, Force Touch is not a completely useless tech. There are some amazing things which can be done with it. One top of the mind example is of an app that measures weight of ingredient put in spoon. Just imagine how useful will this be for day-to-day activity like cooking, or special activities in medical field. This is exactly why there is the need of iPhone Pro.

Decades ago, Steve Jobs introduced famous grid for desktop and laptop. Now is the time to introduce similar grid for iPad and iPhone. Following are the two compelling reasons behind that:

  1. Saturation in processor speed: 3D Gaming, Research Analysis, Cognitive learning, Audio and Video editing etc. These kind of disciplines will continue pushing the boundaries for technological development. But common people normally “consumes” the media and hardly go beyond applying various filters in Instagram or playing candy crush :) For these activities 4 years old iPhone 5 is also a great device.
  2. Niche tech: Technologies such as force touch, 4K video and screen. While these have wow factor to it, it just doesn’t make sense for mobiles. (It’s humanly impossible to differentiate between 1K video and 4K video running on 4-5 inch screen.) If we just let go of such niche technology for normal iPhone, this will also increase the battery backup for device. This is very important factor as we have reached physical constraints over the battery density capacity. Just imagine getting couple of hours of extra from your phone without compromising on quality (refer the 1K vs 4K screen comparison).

Following is the grid which I created for Base and Pro model of iPhone and iPad:

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 11.28.34 PM

This way, the artists, scientists can continue to enjoy the top of the notch products like iPhone Pro and iPad Pro while normal consumers don’t have to break bank but still enjoy the base model of their favourite device.

Recently apple has come up with iPhone SE which is almost like base model I described. But, front camera of 1.2 MP is just ridiculous. I wish iPhone SE (2nd Gen) bridges this gap to give us a kickass iPhone Base model.

Couple of weeks and iPhone 7 will be launched by apple. I wish they scrap so many varients of their products and stick to grid pattern envisioned by Steve Jobs. Simple. Elegant. Effective!

Gaana vs Wynk Music vs Saavn

I love Music! I believe once you love music you can (and should) buy the music but, to try there is nothing better than streaming music.

When one considers Indian market there are three powerhouses Gaana, Wynk and Saavn. All these three music providers have their strengths and weaknesses.. Let’s consider them one by one.



Gaana along with Saavn is one of the oldest streaming music provider. One of great strengths of Gaana is its music database. Part of Times music group; they have one of biggest music database. They have many records which are exclusively available on gaana only. Other strength of gaana is understanding of pulse of market.

On the weak side; I have to say that gaana is just populist. They have decent playlist and explore option for bollywood and hindi music, but when it comes to regional languages, it neither has good collection nor curated playlists. Not only regional languages but in hindi music also, playlist is not that well curated. Other weak point of gaana is, like Saavn they don’t have entire collection available on all platforms. Many songs are available only on web interface, but you can’t access those from mobile phone app.

Wynk Music


Biggest strength of wynk music is mobile only approach. Since there is no web player available, all songs are available on mobile app. When I closely observe music consumption trait, it turns out that me and most of my friends listen music on the go only, and hence prefer listening it from mobile. Even after getting home, bluetooth speakers and aux input for speaker system are way to go to listen music. Bottom line is, it is not that big of the hindrance not to listen music on computer. Second strength of wynk music is its unified browsing experience. Wynk for android has this great feature that you can browse both, streaming music and offline music in one single app.

On weak side, music collection is not as comprehensive as gaana or saavn. Adding to this, wynk needs to tweak its searching capabilities. Right now, it doesn’t give relevant results. Also, it is strange that, even though wynk is just app only, still its mobile application is not that smooth. For example when you go to My Music section and see all downloaded songs. Even though songs are offline, it keeps on refreshing the screen. as if streaming from net.


Being one of the oldest player in streaming music market they have pretty big music database and unlike gaana it is not restricted to hindi. I feel Saavn is the best music application in India right now. I believe there is only one reason for that. They “love” the music!

When you are passionate about something everything gets aligned properly. Saavn is passionate about music and it is visible through their app, their marketing, their playlists.

I don’t know if there was change in top management or what but since the time they have launched “here’s to the music” advertisement they have undergone major change and this change has been great. When you see the ad, it becomes quite clear that it is inspired by apple’s epic ad “here’s to the crazy ones”. I am not drawing direct parallel, but you see, it was this ad campaign which changed perception of apple. People expected great things from apple and they delivered only the high quality products there after. So far, I am seeing similar thing with Saavn.



Just have a look at their Charts and Playlists section and you would understand what I am trying to tell. Each of the playlist is so well curated, and they don’t stop there. Even the playlist display pic is such well thought, it adds character to playlists and improves the overall experience of listening music to another level. This quality of content and presentation makes Saavn a truly great music service. The best part is, this experience is not restricted to bollywood, change settings to any other language and Saavn doesn’t disappoint you. Saavn gives equally good experience of music for regional languages.


Thank you Saavn for giving such a great music experience. Hope you continue to get better and better.

This post is part of good design series.

P.S.: I understand that some of the reader would be thinking about Hungama Music. Well, I would just say that, when biggest music collection meets horrible interface and most stupid search capabilities, then Hungama happens!

“Good Design” Series

Browse the internet and you will see huge number of posts complaining. Complaining about their mobiles, complaining about different apps they use, complaining about how something “suck”. It is human tendency to exaggerate something they hate and underemphasise something they like. I have decided to give small push for something good!

Starting today, I will keep on adding blog post on something I genuinely feel thankful for. You can find all these articles in “Good Design” category.

Intention is to celebrate good design. I speak specifically about design cause, it is often neglected. Good design is normally non intrusive. Because of this nature, it is almost invisible to not-so-keen people. It takes special efforts and bit of craziness to appreciate small things in good design which make big impact in overall experience.

Best Android Mobile Phones in India: October 2016

Updated: 2016-10-01

Hi there, I’m back with best android mobile phone section. In last 2 years there has been lot of new things happened in mobile world. Chinese companies like Xiaomi and OnePlus have proven their mettle and have forced traditional companies to rethink their strategy. It has become even more difficult to choose a perfect android.

But some of the things have still not changed. I still believe that if you have heart on some of particular mobile.. just go for it, no need to search and prove if it is right for you or not. More on this is mentioned here.

Please note that, I don’t compare mobiles on stupid specs. I compare mobile devices as overall package. If specs is something you looking for then there are plenty of other websites. Also, if you are looking for detailed review on particular mobile, GSMArena is good site.

Lets start with ranking:

1. HTC 10: Around Rs. 46k



Keyword: Best android mobile phone in India irrespective of Price

Pros: Design, UI, Sound output, Camera, Display, Battery

Cons: Price

HTC 10, a device which aims to score perfect 10 in all the aspects. And it does! Look at beautiful rear design with clean industrial lines. HTC has always been at forefront when it comes to design. It’s design has been heavily copied by apples and Sammys of the world. When it comes to sound output, HTC has set new standard in acoustics. It has best sound output in market. No! not even iPhone comes close. Regarding Camera; with 10, HTC has also addressed the only gripe of low resolution rear camera. So, here you go, everything is covered.

Sometimes I feel bad for HTC. Here is the company which keeps on producing best mobile one after the other, but every single time something or other goes wrong. For most of the time in past, it was the awful marketing department which could not bank on the amazing htc devices. For HTC 10 also, it is same story. And to add to woe, there is healthy competition from likes of Samsung Galaxy S7 and also OnePlus 3.

Something interesting: Just to show how well-built the HTC phone is, have a look at this video of drop test: HTC 10 Drop Test

2.  OnePlus 3: Around Rs. 27k



Keyword: Best android mobile smart phone in India under 30 thousand (INR 30,000)

Pros: Price, Design, Display.

Cons: Audio output is good (not Flagship Killer!).

Never Settle!

When OnePlus launched their first mobile viz. OnePlus One, they had very clear aim. To make “one” heck of a mobile. This was very good strategy. But then, at the time of OnePlus 2, they came up with one more mobile; OnePlus X. This resulted in bifurcating the focus. And hence both OnePlus 2 and X were not that great mobile.

Now, they have understood (rightly so!) that, “one” mighty mobile at competitive price is what people want. Result is beautiful OnePlus 3. When you consider overall package OP3 is really a flagship at budget price. Pete Lau, CEO of OnePlus has clearly said that their target audience is not those who want cheap mobile but it’s those who buy iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S mobiles. I don’t doubt him at all. I would confidently put my hard-earned money on OP3.

3. Samsung Galaxy S7: Around Rs. 48k



Pros: Design, Camera, Display, Battery.

Cons: Price

Had it not been the fire issue, Galaxy S7 got potential to share 1st rank with HTC 10. Only department where S7 scores below HTC 10 is sound output. It’s not that bad, but it’s just not as good as HTC 10.

Recent fiasco of multiple Galaxy S7 and S7 Note catching fire because of faulty component underlines the fact that it is very important not to compromise on quality of chips and electronics that goes into mobile. This is where no one can compete HTC’s flagship.  Samsung has lost credibility in market and it will take some time to put faith in this Korean company. I would say, instead of making phone waterproof, they should make their phones fire-proof :p .

4. Xiaomi Mi5: Around Rs. 23k



Pros: Form Factor, Weight, Screen, Sound, Camera

Cons: Fast Aging

I like Xiaomi. It is one company which puts quite a lot of effort in Research and Development. They implement their research to make top-notch products. Xiaomi Mi5 with very high charge density at very low weight is some achievement! Mi5 is a great device with excellent Screen, Sound output and 4 axis camera technology. The only thing bothers me is, Xiaomi devices tend to age faster. They tend to have more problems say about charging port, sluggishness, speaker problem etc. quite quickly. This, on plus side means that you must upgrade mobile in a year or two. (Yey! New mobile :p)

5. Moto G Plus (4th Gen): Around Rs. 13k



Keyword: Best android mobile smart phone in India Under 15 thousand (INR 15,000)

Pros: Reliable, Display, Battery

Cons: Uninspiring design

Despite of changing several houses (Motorola to Google to Lenovo), Moto has stayed true to its DNA. Moto G Plus (4th Gen) like it’s ancestors is no-nonsense mobile for good price range. Specially for budget conscious people who want a mobile which will last long. G Plus has played out design, yet very good design. Sound output is decent so is the camera department. All in all, a safe bet!

6. LeEco Le 2: Around Rs. 10k



Keyword: Best android mobile smart phone in India under 10 thousand (INR 10,000)

Pros: Decent All rounder for price point.

Cons: Questionable Business Model

If at all I am curious about any mobile company’s future, it has to be LeEco. I really want to see how many years this company will go with their business strategy. Unlike similar Chinese companies like OnePlus and Xiaomi which work on thin margins, LeEco incurs loss on each device they sell. Their idea is to make profit by entertainment services bundled with mobile. I believe this is totally flawed strategy, specially for Chinese and Indian markets which happens to be their biggest market. In India, we don’t have ubiquitous fast internet. Even if it was available we prefer to share music, movies in offline fashion.  Shareit being in top 10 of Google Playstore and Apple AppStore is testimony of that.

All this doesn’t stop LeEco 2 from being an awesome mobile specially for the price point. If you don’t want to spend much but want a great android experience,  Le 2 is the mobile you have been searching. Anything less, and you will get half-baked android experience.

There! We are done with best of androids available in market. I know, there are some of the heavy weights missing from the list, but those are not there for some reason.

Let’s talk about Sony and it’s amazing X series.

Sony has done with Z series and have come with X series. All of the X devices are superb. The only problem is they are horribly overpriced and there are many (all mentioned in ranking) mobiles which give a better experience for half the price.

Coming to LG.

For once, I was pleasantly surprised by the modular approach LG took with its G5. What let me down was there was nothing else they offered apart from modular approach. I do like G5’s friends. But if G5’s friend is not what you are looking for and are considering G5 as stand alone mobile it won’t be sensible choice. Agreed that, G5 (finally) has metal body and better camera. But cost doesn’t justify to upgrade from G3. Why should I spend extra if I can spend less : )

And Meizu M3.

A perfect iPhone copy with even better home key button. Meizu surprises us with its great photo quality and good sound output. It has near perfect take on home button with tap to back, press to home and gestures in-built to that tiny capacitive button. BUT, it is not an inspiring thing to copy iPhone and iOS so much as to lose its own identity.

That’s all folks!

The Classification Dilemma

How do you classify whether a gadget is mobile phone or tablet or phablet?

Pretty stupid question one might think. May be it is or.. may be it is not. But it becomes pretty difficult to compare devices if you don’t classify in these three categories. And it is unfair not to appreciate efforts of OEM.

It is much easier and hence cheaper to make a large screen device with particular specifications than to put best of technology in smaller package. For example, it takes better technology to make 5 inch 1080p screen than to make 10 inch screen with 1080p screen. Reason being, you need to pack more number of pixels in smaller area.

This is precisely the reason you should not compare mobiles with phablets.

Let’s begin!

Smart Phone OR mobile : 5 inch screen

Observe your palm. Measure the length from the point of thumb joint to first knuckle joint of index finger. This would be roughly 7 cm. This is the line where you fold your hand in order to grab something and hence it plays important role to decide if you can hold device comfortably in one hand. In short it decides whether your mobile is mobile enough :p

Now observe your hand. Measure the width from first finger to pinky. Surprise surprise, it will also be 7 cm. So, when you put gadget to your ears which are bigger than 7 cm, it looks as if someone is slapping you.


7 cm width translates to 5 inch (diagonal) screen with 16:9 aspect ratio and hence in smartphone ranking you will see 5 inch screen. LG G2 is my ideal phone when it comes to maximising screen size yet honouring our natural geometry. Though this phone has 5.2 inch screen it’s overall body width is 7.09 cm.

Phablets: more than 5.5 inch and less than 7 inch screen

Phablet is essentially Smartphone with bigger screen. But, I never understand why such a device exist in first place. It doesn’t fit properly in your pocket. It is difficult to manage with single hand. Still I am amused by y-o-y growth of these devices. Though, for girls who carry small purse, it is perfect device. It fits in their purse. It shows their selfie more clearly. Easy to watch movies or songs on the go. They anyways use both hands to use phone :p

More than screen size or anything else, Phablet size is governed by social acceptance. No matter what, putting 7 inch tablet to your face looks stupid. Any smaller size tablet you feel comfortable putting to your ear is Phablet. And as of now, it means 6 inch.

Tablets: larger than 7 inch

It’s no brainer.

How to make android easy for your parents

Here is the case, you bought a shiny new android for your parents so that you can WhatsApp them, share photos, may be talk free using Viber. But it is getting difficult for them to get hold of home screens, widgets and notification screen. They often miss notifications as they forget to swipe from top of screen. No more!

Meet Wiser. A nice simple launcher for home screen.

This launcher has basically four screen.

1. Default Home screen has selected 6 icons which are big enough to press and have different colour which make them easily recognisable.

2. Left screen acts like Notice Board which acts as Notification tray.

3. Right screen is fast dial to favourite people. People can be added easily and user interface is made super easy to either call or text that person. Further more, this app uses big fonts everywhere. So text are easily readable everywhere.

4. Right most screen is for apps. You can pin few selected apps which they normally use. (The only apps my mom uses apart from those in default screen are two games Solitair and Shoot Bubble :p )

All in all, best launcher for minimalistic use.

Here is the link of that app in play store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wiser.home

P.S. Don’t forget to press home key and make wiser launcher default action for home key