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Messaging App Signal Prepares To Take on WhatsApp, Goes Mainstream

This comes at a time when Facebook-owned WhatsApp users are looking for alternatives as the messaging platform has been hit by spyware and other privacy-related controversies

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WhatsApp
This comes at a time when Facebook-owned WhatsApp users are looking for alternatives as the messaging platform has been hit by spyware and other privacy-related controversies. Pixabay

Privacy centric messaging app Signal is gearing up to take on Facebook-owned WhatsApp as it is mulling to go mainstream now and put the $50 million infusion from WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton to good use. Moxie Marlinspike — who launched Signal — has always talked about making encrypted communications easy enough for anyone to use.

The difference, today, is that Signal is finally reaching that mass audience it was always been intended for — not just the privacy diehards, activists, and cybersecurity nerds that formed its core user base for years, thanks in part to a concerted effort to make the app more accessible and appealing to the mainstream, the Wired recently reported.

This comes at a time when Facebook-owned WhatsApp users are looking for alternatives as the messaging platform has been hit by spyware and other privacy-related controversies.

“The major transition Signal has undergone is from a three-person small effort to something that is now a serious project with the capacity to do what is required to build software in the world today,” Marlinspike was quoted as saying by the Wired.

WhatsApp
Privacy centric messaging app Signal is gearing up to take on Facebook-owned WhatsApp as it is mulling to go mainstream now and put the $50 million infusion from WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton to good use. Pixabay

The investment by the WhatsApp co-founder Acton has enabled the team to add features that also attract regular folks looking for an alternative to WhatsApp and Telegram.

Since Signal is fundamentally end-to-end encrypted and doesn’t store conversation metadata on its servers, like when who texted whom, the developers were faced with additional obstacles on that path. The foundation had to make stickers compatible with encryption so users can send them securely and anonymously.

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Enabling group administration was also a hard feat, as Signal has to give administrators the ability to add and remove members without its servers knowing who’s part of the conversation, according to Android Police. (IANS)

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WhatsApp Experiences Greatest Gains Amid Lockdown

WhatsApp sees 40% increase in usage in time of pandemic

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WhatsApp
WhatsApp has seen a 40 per cent increase in usage, according to a study by Kantar, a data and consulting company. Pixabay

As COVID-19 pandemic envelopes the world, WhatsApp has seen a 40 per cent increase in usage, according to a study by Kantar, a data and consulting company. This is a technology news.

Across all stages of the pandemic, WhatsApp is the social media app experiencing the greatest gains in usage as people look to stay connected. Overall WhatsApp has seen a 40 per cent increase in usage.

Kantar conducted the largest global study into consumer attitudes, media habits and expectations during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Kantar estimates that for WhatsApp in the early phase of the pandemic usage increases 27 per cent, in mid-phase 41 per cent and countries in the late phase of the pandemic see an increase of 51 per cent.

Spain experienced a 76 per cent increase in time spent on WhatsApp. Overall Facebook usage has increased 37 per cent. China experienced a 58% increase in usage of local social media apps including Wechat and Weibo.

WhatsApp
WhatsApp is the social media app experiencing the greatest gains in usage as people look to stay connected. Pixabay

According to a study, there is a crisis in trust. Traditional nationwide news channels (broadcast and newspaper) are the most trusted sources of information with 52 per cent of people identifying them as a ‘trustworthy’ source.

Government agency websites are regarded as trustworthy by only 48 per cent of people, suggesting that government measures are not providing citizens around the world with assurances and security.

Also reflecting the loss of trust from recent election cycles, social media platforms are regarded by only 11 per cent of people as a source of trustworthy information.

As countries move deeper in to the pandemic so media consumption increases across all in-home channels. According to Kantar, in the later stages of the pandemic web browsing increases by 70 per cent, followed by (traditional) TV viewing increasing by 63 per cent and social media engagement increasing by 61 per cent over normal usage rates.

Increased usage across all messaging platforms has been biggest in the 18-34 age group. WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram have all experienced a more than 40 per cent increase in usage from under 35-year olds.

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Consumers expect the brands they choose to look after their employees first and foremost with 78 per cent saying take care of employees’ health and 62 per cent saying implement flexible working.

Supporting hospitals (41 per cent) and being helpful to government (35 per cent) is an expectation of significant minority of consumers, the study says. (IANS)