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Top apps for instant messaging

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Zoom in on this story. Explore all there is to know.

Jenneth Orantia reviews the best apps for keeping in touch.

A screenshot of WhatsApp Messenger for iPhone.

A screenshot of WhatsApp Messenger for iPhone.

Facebook Messenger
iPhone, Android, BlackBerry
Free

If most of your friends and family are on Facebook already, the stand-alone Facebook Messenger app makes it a breeze to keep in touch. Since you're contacting everyone through their Facebook profile, you don't need to know their phone number. You can also move seamlessly between your computer and smartphone for every chat session.

 

WhatsApp Messenger
iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry
99¢ for iPhone, free for other platforms

The beauty of WhatsApp Messenger is you don't need to know anyone's username to chat - the app goes through your contacts and plucks out anyone who's registered for WhatsApp based on their mobile number. As well as text, photo and audio messages, you can send contacts, locations and video clips.

 

imo messenger
iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry
Free

Got friends across several chat networks? Imo messenger lets you access all of them from a single contact list. Compatible networks include Facebook, Skype, Google Talk and ICQ, and for the ones that support it, you can make calls as well as send the usual text, photo, audio and video messages.

 

Kik Messenger
iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry
Free

Kik Messenger offers the usual gamut of messaging options, but with the bonus of built-in Reddit, YouTube and image browsers (referred to as ''cards'') that you can use for finding and sharing content with friends without leaving the app. The only downside is that it's harder to find friends on Kik compared with other services.

 

Snapchat
iPhone, Android
Free

Snapchat shares photos and videos, but only on a temporary basis. Senders configure a viewing time between one and 10 seconds - after that the item is automatically deleted. Theoretically, Snapchat offers more control over shared photos and videos compared with, say, posting it on Facebook, but recipients can still save content using their phone's screenshot feature.

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