Jason asked: “I was wondering what the best messenger apps are.”
Jason, the answer would be “the ones the people you want to talk to are using.”
They’re all basically the same, some of them don’t offer video, but video is not something you usually use all that much because it can be seen as intrusive sometimes.
For the most part they all offer audio, stickers of some kind, all the features you’ve come to expect. They only thing that really set them apart are the user base.
Facebook’s offerings, both WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are hugely popular, so the people you want to message are likely to be there. Google Hangouts has a very large number of users and can be paired with a Google Voice account if you have or want one, though we should mention that the future of Hangouts is uncertain. There has been talk of making a “business account” only feature and of transitioning users to Google’s other (so far less popular messengers) like Allo.
Skype still retains a user base, mostly because it’s done audio and video well for many years and a lot of people still have accounts, even if they don’t always remember that they do.
We should mention Slack, it is more business oriented and all of us here found it pretty annoying, but it does allow to customize it and add features to make team collaboration easier.
Ultimately, most messengers are multi-platform, free, and functional. Just get whichever one your people are already using it, if they’re not using any yet, try something like WhatsApp, they already have such a huge number of users that they’re likely to be used by whoever you may need to contact in the future as well as the people you want to talk to now.
A new entry into this mix is Workplace by Facebook. It is a new collaborative platform that seeks to bring messaging, document storage, and other tools to facilitate people working together. It has a free trial but requires a subscription to continue using it.
Since messaging is a central part of Workplace, it stands to reason that if employers start using Workplace, they will press you to use that as your messaging app.
But the bottom line is the same as the opening line: Use the same messenger as the people you want to send messages to are using.