Messaging apps

Stand-alone messenger apps are popular, but how popular? Take this week's poll.

I admit it. I only use Hangouts (formerly G Talk) for messaging on my phone. I have Google Voice for folks I don't know well enough to add to hangouts, and I have Skype installed for communication here at Mobile Nations, though I never use it. I've only installed others to make sure they do what they claim to do while writing about them. Maybe I'm boring, or maybe SMS and Hangouts is just good enough for me.

But I imagine I'm in the minority. It seems like everyone uses FaceBook Messenger, or WhatsApp (who'd have thought the two would get together, right?) or SnapChat — and not just for that type of texting. The download numbers tell me that a lot of people are using the apps, and hearing from you guys and gals who love them only solidifies the idea.

So, do you use a third-party messenger, and if so which one? There's a poll in the sidebar to the right, and after the break to make things nice and mobile-friendly. Make your choice, then fill the comments with discussion.


Reader comments

This week's sidebar poll: Do you use a third-party messaging app?


Currently using hangouts. I just hope they combine the texting and online chatting in one.

Posted via Android Central App


Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Hopefully this deal will nudge Google into another gear with Hangouts improvements...while I do expect quite a lot to come from Hangouts in the future, it has been a lot slower than I was expecting. Google needs to move FAST and make Hangouts a killer app...rather than just the one I'm using because it's default and works "ok".

I hate myself for saying this but can google just make hangouts like iMessage please? All i use is hangouts but they really need to work more on it!

I use hangouts and snapchat.

Posted via my thumbs and Google Keyboard. (Defective) N7 2013

Nope nope nope. If someone wants to contact me they can text or call me. I don't do messaging apps.

Posted via Android Central App

Isn't texting a messaging app? I thought that was why Google changed it to Hangouts to be cross platform.

Posted via Android Central App

I agree that text messaging is messaging but you know they meant outside of the standard text. hence not listing apps like gosms

Same here, except I rarely text. When I do it's only with my girl via the stock texting app that came on my phone. Otherwise, it's e-mail or preferably an old school phone call. You can convey so much more information (and quickly) via a voice call compared to any non-verbal communication. And you get to hear the other person's voice inflection which adds even more underlying information. :)

Which is great to catch up or to make plans. But most people are busy and find texting easier for simple questions rather than having to play phone tag or make an appointment for a phone call. I'm not able to call when I'm in a meeting, but still need information conveyed to me. I don't think people would disagree that phone calls have advantages in certain situations, but its annoying when the person is tech stubborn, and can only be reached by phone.

Amen! I'll start using 3rd party message apps when they go on a diet & shed a few MB pounds of code!

Posted via Android Central App

Yes but I use a couple of them. WhatsApp & FB (ew, I know but older relatives just don't know any better)

Yeah I got the same kinda thing with a few Aunts as well.

I am not sure if I like them enough to keep it...

Your mother also insists on contacting me through FB Messenger. A pain in the ass, but a booty call is a booty call.

I appreciate humor, but this joke was a laughable fail, lol.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

I'm running carbon rom on my s4 and use the stock messaging app. I'd probably switch to hangouts but I like the quick reply popup with stock.

What's the stock messaging app on the carbon Rom? I definitely enjoy the popup notifications.

Posted via Android Central App

Not sure. I think it's whatever comes with CM11. I just found evolve based on someones suggestion below. It seems pretty nice and has a useful popup. Give that a shot. Or 8sms if you like aosp style messaging app.

Kik is a good hangouts companion. It's not better than Hangouts, but the privacy it offers without allowing users to give up too much identifying info is better. I use hangouts mostly, but kik when I meet someone knew online like from jackd or Grindr lol

Posted via my oldie but goodie Nexii 4 using the Android Central App

Facebook Messenger, everyone I know is on Facebook, I don't even have the numbers on all of the people I'm with every day.

Posted via Android Central App

Looks like for most people that use a third party msessaging app including me it's What's App.

I had to use a 3rd party one when I had my EVO LTE, since HTC's Sense SMS app was not only ugly and bloated, but it flat out didn't work with group messaging.

With my Moto X, which uses the stock Android SMS app, I've kept it. It's my favorite one of all of them, and I never really got into Hangouts.

I have not found a third party messaging app worth the trouble. Texting works for any platform so it has served me well. It would be annoying having some people on it and not others then be juggling two messaging apps all the time.

I don't do group messaging or anything special though. I am sure that's part of why it doesn't interest or benefit me.

I do use a 3rd party texting app though since google decided to integrate hangouts. I feel texting should not be combined with google's messaging just like I wouldn't want texting combined with Facebook or Instagram. All of these companies want the same thing at the end of the day and I feel it is a conflict having my personal texts integrated with a social networking app created by a company that relies on advertising for income.

I use 8sms to get the nice stock texting look and feel.

Can someone explain to me exactly why you would use a 3rd party messaging app, other than if you are on a plan that charges you for text messaging?

Some people like to customized it for the look. I like it cause stock is annoying and limited

Posted via Android Central App

Ability to sync/use across multiple devices including tablets, laptops, and PCs.

Posted via Android Central App

+1 "Ability to sync/use across multiple devices including tablets, laptops, and PCs."
Talk to people whose phone number I don't have
Talk to people living/travelling abroad
Talk to people who don't have smartphones and can't text on old-school dumb phones, but they do know how to use Facebook on a PC, like my parents :)

I use Textra because if/when I decide to try a new rom I just backup my apps and when I restore it to the new rom all my messages are there. Used to lose them with the stock app.

Posted via Android Central App

I used to use 8SMS which is the messaging app from cyanogenmod made available on the play store. I'm rooted so I uninstalled the Samsung messaging app and used 8SMS in standalone mode.

Now I just use hangouts for its sheer simplicity. And I still have Samsung's app uninstalled.

Posted via Android Central App

This needs to be a multi-option survey - I use Facebook Messenger with most people, but use BBM to communicate with friends with Blackberries (used to use Whatsapp for that until BBM for Andriod was released). Also use Hangouts with a couple of people.

I mainly use Hangouts with my close friends, and Facebook Messenger for a few people on FB that either don't have my number, or if it's just easier for them to message me there. Sadly, many of my other friends are still using text messages. I had Kik for a short period of time, but the people on there randomly messaging me were creepy, and I learned from a dating site that the question "Do you have Kik?" was code for "I'm a freak, send me nudes." I deactivated Kik.

Hangouts 90%, Voice 10% (only until Hangouts gets SMS on non-phone devices).
Facebook chat is permanently turned off, and I openly tell people not to contact me via Facebook at all (no Messenger, no invites, no nothing). If they do, and even if I do see it, I purposely ignore it. I absolutely hate FB and only keep an account for non-"friend" reasons, and even then I only log in once every few days.

I used to use gtalk daily. Had a lot of friends and my wife used it too. Since hangouts was put out (still think that is a stupid juvenile name for an app you want adults to use and I can't respect it) everybody quit using it. I've gone to Textra for SMS & MMS and it handles it beautifully. I've quit using IM, anybody I can't SMS we just email.

Posted via Android Central App

Hangouts and FB messenger, because my conversation can move across devices with them

Posted from Da Lords of Da Underground

If we're calling Hangouts a first-party chat platform, then no. Otherwise, I use Hangouts. SMS/MMS can die in a fire.

I do use BBM and Hangouts. Being with Sprint...their service is horrible in some buildings I go into. Luckily, I am able to use BBM over wifi. Makes it feel like my HTC One isn't a paper weight due to the Sprint coverage.

I use hangouts most of the time, but I also get a decent amount of use out of the Steam app. (holofication nation version, not the valve version). I also have Skype, plumble, and snapchat installed, but those 3 get almost no use.

Me too, although reading these comments makes me feel Handcent's behind the times; I do like having a regular backup for my SMS messages.

I don't consider Hangouts and Chomp as 3rd party messaging systems but I use both. I use Hangouts as a group chat type thing, replaces the old IRC for me. Chomp I just consider it as a front end to SMS, not a totaly separate system like BBM, GroupMe and WhatsApp. I have installed GroupMe, WhatsAp but maybe sent 3 message with WhatsAp and never hooked up with anyone on GroupMe.

I have switched back and forth between hangouts and the stock messaging app for SMS on my note 3. I actually have Trillian. I don't see how most of these others come close to it since it can talk with pretty much every messaging platform out there. It just never seemed to get much movement on mobile though.

All my friends are on FB so I use messenger quite a bit. Most would have no idea what hangouts even is. Probably wouldn't know what most of those are actually.

I use hangouts and snapchat. When I try to use an alternate texting app it's just not the same.

Posted via Android Central App

I use verizon messages only because I have a Nexus 7 2013. It syncs my texts. The cool part is, picture messages come through even if my phone has no data connection.

Why install fb messenger when the original fb app does the job just fine?

I have it all! Kik, Snapchat, Hangouts, Facebook. Well I don't use Whatsapp or BBM since no one else I know uses them. And I use EvolveSMS for texting.

Posted via Android Central App on my Nexus 5 (4.4.2)

I use a variety of methods - Hangouts and WhatsApp being the main ones, but also use Viber when the message comes fron folks who are on it...

Posted via Android Central App

Really? No other users of Simply Text connected through Mighty Text? Such a great and useful combination. That's what I use.

Not sure why Google Voice isn't in the options. For SMS that's my primary because that's what most people still use who don't gChat/Hangout with me. And that's fine because in the middle of my building, my signal (thanks Sprint) isn't great, and I can respond to "texts" on my browser too. (But credit to Sprint, gVoice integration is a nice feature).

For MMS I haven't turned on the option to check them from Hangouts, but I don't get many picture messages anyway. I do enjoy Hangouts for close friends, since we have each other's gmail addresses, and those messages and pictures are easily viewed between my work PC, my Moto X, and my Chromebook. But I don't give out my primary gmail to acquaintances for fear of spam, so I'm not hanging out with anyone who has not been vetted as good-people.

I left Facebook, so FBMessenger isn't an option, and I'm glad about that. I guess I could tell acquaintances to message me through G+ since that's an option now.

I'd probably use Hangouts more on my phone if I liked the layout better. I have Viber for a couple of friends, and I like the way that handles, but I don't want so many disparate messaging apps that I can't track when/how I talked to someone last. I know Viber was just purchased too, but I'd have preferred if Google had bought them or if they streamlined the app a little more to look like that.

I think my bigger question is - what is the value in these messaging apps? Selling ads while you message? And why does everyone love BBM so much? I never understood that. Are these apps supposed to replace SMS/MMS? Because I thought the nice thing about SMS (other than Google Voice "SMS") is that it didn't use data, and that signal could be more reliable?

I use ChatON because I can send voice messages using my Galaxy Gear.

Posted via Android Central App

I have Whatsapp and Voxer and Facebook Messanger on my phone. I don't use them that often, simply because most people just text me. A very few (international) use them, which is why I keep them. 99% is texting, with the rare exception.

Converted from handcent when Hangouts got the overhaul and haven't been back.

Posted via Android Central App

Voxer, which I use quite a bit.. the push to talk like functionality is much easier while walking than texting, and is actually ok/reasonably safe to use while driving.

Textra for SMS and Hangouts for data messaging here. Hangouts is poorly marketed by Google. Most people here in the UK haven't got a clue what Hangouts is, even those with Android devices. Thankfully I've got all my family onto it so don't really need to go elsewhere although I do have to use Facebook sometimes.

True, none of my Android using friends know what Hangouts is.
I think it's because they aren't using the latest Android version or they're using whatever Sony and Samsung have as a texting app; they also use FB or Whatsapp.
I keep it simple and only text via Hangouts; I tried Whatsapp a few years back on BlackBerry and is was some ugly shit.

Posted via Android Central App

Facebook Messenger is my secondary, after Hangouts. This is mostly because my son uses it. He despises Google Hangouts, which the rest of my family uses. If I could talk him onto Hangouts, I wouldn't even bother with FB Messenger, though I have to say that Messenger's UI is super slick. Love the face icons that pop up over my home page. Skype used to be on my phone too, but now that my mom has converted over to Hangouts, I don't need that one anymore.

Use to use what's app but there is a hack... That allows other to see your message... Went bbm now.... Handcent was Ok.. I sent for the scheduling ability... Since stock note 3 has it back to regular sms

Posted via Android Central App

I use IM+. I used to use a lot of the messengers it supports, but now mainly just Jabber/XMPP.

I use IM+ Pro for Yahoo Messenger chat and Google Talk chat (so much better than using Yahoo Messenger and Google Hangouts).

I use KiK because only one of my friends use that. I like hangouts better now, but would love to see improvements with XMPP based calling through Google Voice. Wanted to use WhatsApps but none of my friends would try it out.

I use Hangouts a lot, but I've recently started using Telegram as well. The UI is almost a carbon copy of WhatsApp, which initially was a bit of a turn off, but there are subtle improvements over WhatsApp that have warmed me up to it.

Posted via Android Central App

I've been using Hangouts since Day One. I updated or sideloaded to get SMS capabilities on my GS4 and now that I have the Nexus 5 I've been using Hangouts exclusively for months and have not felt the need to even look at another app. Before that I used Textra to get a nice, fast, near-stock experience. But that's because Samsung's Messaging App is horrible!!

I use Handcent SMS. It is quick, has a popup that allows for quick response and Empji support. It also has prediction text for quick texting.

I use hangouts primarily, but i have GroupMe simply because the iOS hangouts app sucked at launch. i had all my groupme buddies converted over to hangouts when it first launched, but the fact that the iOS app (anyone i communicate with on groupme uses iOS) sucked royally, it lasted about 2 weeks before they all went back to GroupMe. i tried to convince them that the app is MUCH better now, but they dont care :(


Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

I would love to use a messaging app as it's quicker than sms, but there is not one standard app that everyone uses, so for now I'm sticking with plain old sms. I hope someday we will have a standard that is better, but not for now.

I use go see pro. It was free one weekend so I picked it up. Never cared enough to switch it back to my default.

Posted via Android Central App

I wonder how long Facebook can buy its way until my phone. I used what'sapp, and will start looking for something to transition to immediately following the takeover. If people wanted to use facebook, they'd use messenger. How does Zuck not understand this?

I must say I lied on my vote. I use a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. But mostly because ppl is stupid and keeps using crap. If I could I would only use hangout.

I use GroupMe. It's one of the only group messaging apps that doesn't require an app to use. My grandmother can use it with her dumbphone and still receive and respond to our group messages. Pretty sure WhatsApp doesn't do that.

Xabber, (jabber client) because jabber is stll big in some communities such as upon source development, especially in Europe.

Need multiple choice here.

I use Hangouts (for SMS as well as I'm on a Nexus 5), WhatsApp, BBM, Facebook Messenger, and Kik. I have a SnapChat, but I don't really use it much.

Before hangouts was fixed on Sprint's LG G2 I used Textra for SMS and MMS. Now that group messages and mms are fixed on Hangouts, I use it mostly. I keep F-Book messenger for casual contact with facebook friends. I do wish that Hangouts would take some synergy lesson from WebOS and have all communication with a contact (calendar appointments, call records, voicemail, email, sms, mms, and chat) under each conversation thread.

I use Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, EvolveSMS and Skype. Depends who I want to get hold of, I have so many different contacts on different platforms.

I like using WhatsApp because it allows me to send audio, video, and image files with no size limitation. I almost never talk on the phone so most of my communication is via text, Facebook, and WhatsApp. With unlimited data plans it is ridiculous to still have size limitations on file transfers.

I mainly use the stock SMS .I just use Hangouts if someone has contacted me that way and responding to their message.

Hangouts only, have fb messenger, only used it a couple times

Posted via my outdated Droid RAZR Maxx HD using the Android Central App

I use Hangouts and Skype on my phone and tablet daily. I installed Snapchat to play with it, but quickly got rid of it when I remembered that I don't have any friends under 25.

I have been using TextSecure from WhisperSystems. It has turned into a complete replacement for the default messaging app. The big plus is encrypted texting. When both people are using the app you do a key exchange, after that you are texting with encryption. It is open source also. Which is good, can't hide back doors in open source code.

I believe because it is not 'third party'. Although since most people (including me) seem unclear on the distinction between SMS and 'messaging' and are listing their SMS clients, I think it should have been in the list. Actually, you know what, I have no idea.

I tried to use hangouts but got tired if it wanting me to send invites to people I didnt have in the fold. I use Facebook messenger only because my sister and a few other friends insists its the in thing to use.

I just switched to using Textra and so far like it a lot. The Dark mode is a big plus on my GPE HTC One, fits stock Android quite well.

I have used Hangouts and I like it, but had to turn off sms and now use Evolve SMS instead. The deal breaker on Hangouts for me is that it cannot forward pics from one text conversation I'm having with one person to another text conversation with another person. Every other app I've ever used can do this, what is wrong with Google? It feels to much like a beta.

Posted via Android Central App

I use Handcent as an SMS replacement. As far as instant messaging? What SMS isn't instant enough? I don't want people to know if my phone is on or not.

I'm with sprint and have a text plan so I don't have any need for 3rd party text apps, and with so many to choose from and to know which on of my friends is using which one I will just stick with regular old text.

Posted via Android Central App

I was using the stock Android messenger app for SMS and Hangouts for chatting, but I've since combined them and it's not too bad.

Wish they'd go back to call it Gchat. I still do anyway, it's kind of tough to use 'hangouts' as a verb...

I use an older version of Facebook Messenger (newer version requires giving up my number) for the girlfriend. We have unlimited SMS but don't text because we enjoy using FB's fun stickers (don't judge me). For text I use GO SMS Pro because I like the interface and Chat Head popups. An important note: WhatsApp is Not Free even if it is cheap.

Posted via Android Central App

I use a couple different apps, including Hangouts (SMS), Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp & Snapchat (listed from most frequently used to least).

I thought about this myself when I saw that Facebook decided to purchase WhatsApp. Where is this thing actually used? Emerging markets I guess? SMS is old technology sure. But the big mobile providers in the US have pricing models now which focus on charging for data. The plans they promote now have unlimited voice and text. Having said that, why bother with WhatsApp or one of these alternatives, when everybody has SMS? I don't, and based on the survey a lot of people who peruse these forums don't. I could see it if the providers were still charging $15 bucks for a batch of texts to use. I guess that the user base is in emerging markets.

Hangouts for friends/family/wife,FB messenger for the mistress.

I kid, I kid...I have no friends/family/wife...I live alone with my 4 cats.

I just tried Hangouts instead of Handcent. Is this true that Hangouts does't have a popup notification that shows on the homescreen?? It's only in the notification bar. I'm using a Moto X. That sucks!

I use hangouts with sms popup..excellent combo. But seriously, was was Goog thinking about not adding a popup for sms in hangouts?

I use Chomp sms. Hangouts don't have custom ringtones for each contact, and that's a dealbreaker for me. Chomp's developers have been very quick to react to comments and bug submissions, plus I like how it looks.

I use Hangouts (for IM) and Google Voice (for SMS). Looking forward to Google Voice (SMS/MMS) integration into Hangouts.

@Jimmy- Hangouts has several failings. No pop up reply, no quick pop up to send a text, does not wake the screen on incoming texts and the biggest one to me is it will not forward pics. Ie. If I get a pic via text(sms) from one friend, it will give the option to forward but it won't actually work. Has never worked for me. I'm on AT&T using a Note 3. Sent a bunch of feedback but Google dang responded. Google FAIL Imo.

Posted via Android Central App

My friends are using many different services, but now they stopped using line, wechat, kik, hangouts and now i only have viber, whatsapp, facebook messenger, skype, hangouts(nobody my friends use it anymore but it is not battery hog so not uninstalled)

Personally i would like that my friends would stop using whatsapp and moving to viber which is mostly free and can use multiple devices like phone, tablet, laptop and all synced plus there is voice calling which i am not using.

Hemls would be good too, thought i have no big secrets, but it is annoing that whatsapp, facebook, skype, hangouts messages goes 100% to nsa.

I use Hangouts as my main messaging app, but alternate with my in-laws with WhatsApp and Tango...they're both resisted using Hangouts (staunch iOS users).

stock Samsung app for me... at least until hangouts gets more on the level as imessage

Posted via Android Central App

Hangouts all the way. I love switching between using my computer, phone and tablet and all of my messages are there and up to date.

I prefer my stock messaging app, but I use others at times. For example, if someone sends me a message using Hangouts, I'll use the same to respond. Thus, I have multiple messaging apps installed mainly because friends use them.

Posted via AC App on HTC One

Our whole family has been using WhatsApp for the past two years. It's easy, free to use. i.e. no SMS and MMS costs involved and is across most platforms and counties. In the meantime we'll keep using it. Tried Hangouts but it kept crashing when a MMS arrived..

Seeing that screenshot, I didn't know Kik was still around. Last I heard of it, was back in 2010, when the Evo 4G came out.

Wild.....I thought I was a pretty savvy texter for an old guy. I use stock on a Galaxy device.....hold your applause lol. Anyway, the need for a third party sms seems redundant for what it does. Social media integration is cool from a stand point that it can be done, but when does it become to much. How can you want to be that connected all the time? I need a break to be able to enjoy my gadgets the next day. It's just the direction we are headed I guess

I use the stock messenger. One of the only stock things that I use

Posted from my M7

I use mysms because it syncs my text messages with my tablet and I can also view my texts's extremely handy!

Fan of Hangouts and before that GTalk, my text messaging dropped like a stone when I got a smartphone.. sadly I am in the minority there, seriously boggles my mind why everyone kept texting after we started carrying the internet in our pockets.. heck I would've used AIM again if it meant not having to pay for a texting plan! of course these days of limited data I don't see people dropping it anytime soon, of course that money could go to more GBs of data.

Well, when it comes to messaging apps I can easily declare myself a prostitute. Really, I almost use all of them. I'm a Hangouts enthusiast, even though I can't go with it like I would, since just 20% of my contacts regularly use it. Of course I'm forced to type on WhatsApp and do like Viber A LOT: the Android app is gorgeous and pretty much appreciate landline rates and calling quality. I also got my own place on FB messenger, even though I hate Facebook and just signed up for an empty account: I managed to set m profile picture and had a look at privacy settings, solely. I pretty much love Mtalk tho! Beautiful app and love the fact that it comes with a quick web contact page: really useful. Aaaaand....that's it, I guess XD

Posted via Android Central App

Here in Asia we have Kakao Talk and it's pretty much the gold standard. We don't text, we Kakao. It's world's better than the laggy whatsapp, WORLD's BETTER. Probably one of the greatest things i've discovered since moving to Asia. I have my family using it now and they are dumbfounded by how much better it is than hangouts and all the other things. I wish more people would wake up to the truth lol...