Which apps are worth using to stay in touch? We've got the scoop.

Best Overall

WhatsApp

See at Google Play

There is almost no contest. WhatsApp is an all-inclusive messaging app that's all you need for staying in touch, no matter where you are in the world. WhatsApp merely relies on whether your phone has an Internet connection — whether that's through cellular or Wi-Fi — so it's great if you're frequently traveling between regions. You can use WhatsApp to send and receive photos, videos, documents, and voice messages. It also supports group chats and voice calls.

Bottom Line: If you're looking for a formidable, all-in-one messaging that's packed with more features than some of Google's offerings, WhatsApp is the second most-popular messaging app available.

One More Thing: Both parties have to be using the WhatsApp app to communicate, though all it requires to register is your phone number.

Why WhatsApp is the best

Google has yet to settle on the one best messaging app. As a result, Android users have had to resign themselves to simply switching off between applications when necessary. It's not the most user-friendly solution, but it's the reality until Google lands on a cohesive messaging strategy.

WhatsApp is worth adding to your arsenal — and possibly switching over to for primary communication. In addition to being able to send and receive photos, videos, documents, and voice messages, WhatsApp lets you place free VoIP calls as long as you're on a strong Wi-Fi signal. That's especially helpful when you're traveling overseas.

Additionally, WhatsApp works well on 2G networks, which is fantastic if you're roaming the countryside with the faintest signal available, and it offers end-to-end encrypted messaging. And since it was the first messaging app of its kind, there were so many early adopters that you'd be hard pressed not to find your friends already have an account. (Even I was surprised at how many of my friends and family members were already users!)

Best for Google users

Google Hangouts

See at Google Play

Text messages, video chat, group chats — it's all there in Google Hangouts. We still don't know where Google is taking its once heralded messaging app, but for now, we're still using it to chat. Use it to easily multitask between conversations with your friends, family, and colleagues between your different Google accounts. You can even use Hangouts to make phone calls with your Google Voice number or download the Hangouts Dialer to make free Wi-Fi calls.

Bottom line: For now, Hangouts is basically a required app if you're planning to stay connected in the Google-verse. We're not sure where Google is taking it (some are expecting it to see it become the next prized messaging app of the enterprise), but there are definitely more people using it than Allo or Duo.

One more thing: Why isn't this Google's primary messaging app again?

Best for texting

Messenger from Google

See at Google Play

You're already a Google user, so you might as well stay with the family when it comes to text messaging. Messenger from Google lets you receive SMS and MMS messages — simple as that! Messenger supports RCS messaging, audio messaging, emoji, location sharing, colored text threads, and message archiving. It even comes with its own batch of stickers!

Bottom Line: Messenger from Google is the messenger for your Google phone.

One More Thing: If you're thinking I really don't want anymore Google, Textra is the next best text messaging app. It doesn't support RCS, but it does have Giphy integration, and offers full compatibility with Pushbullet, MightyText, Android Wear, and Android Auto for enhanced notifications and quick replies.

Best "everyone is using it"

Facebook Messenger

See at Google Play

Chances are, you've got an overwhelming list of friends and family who've become suddenly available on Facebook. Keep up with them all by downloading Facebook Messenger. The app supports messaging from both your Facebook account and phone number. You don't have to use the SMS feature if you don't want to, but it could be helpful if you find yourself constantly jumping between apps.

Facebook Messenger is one of the more dynamic messaging apps. It offers a hefty number of sticker packs, not to mention stellar video chat functionality. The app also supports group chats — including group voice chats — audio messaging, read receipts, and location sharing services. You can even use Facebook Messenger to swap cash with friends.

Bottom line: You've come this far at accepting Facebook as a part of your life. You might as well adopt the feature-filled Messenger app into your life, too.

One more thing: Not only are there stickers, but you can play games with your Facebook friends from Messenger, too!

Best Overall

WhatsApp

See at Google Play

There is almost no contest. WhatsApp is an all-inclusive messaging app that's all you need for staying in touch, no matter where you are in the world. WhatsApp merely relies on whether your phone has an Internet connection — whether that's through cellular or Wi-Fi — so it's great if you're frequently traveling between regions. You can use WhatsApp to send and receive photos, videos, documents, and voice messages. It also supports group chats and voice calls.

Bottom Line: If you're looking for a formidable, all-in-one messaging that's packed with more features than some of Google's offerings, WhatsApp is the second most-popular messaging app available.

One More Thing: Both parties have to be using the WhatsApp app to communicate, though all it requires to register is your phone number.