The tweet resulted in an 1100% upsurge in Signal’s downloads on both Google Play Store and App Store. But there was another app which gained too. While Signal saw 2.3 million downloads on the application stores, Telegram witnessed a mammoth 1.5 million downloads between January 6 and 10, as per the Sensor Tower data.
What followed next was an outrage on social media, especially on Twitter. When asked by his followers for safer messaging platforms, the SpaceX founder tweeted, “Use Signal.” It was indeed a signal to people to adopt a better messaging service, Signal.
Testimonials on Signal
Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, shared a review on the Signal website, “I trust Signal because it’s well built, but more importantly, because of how it’s built: open source, peer-reviewed, and funded entirely by grants and donations. A refreshing model for how critical services should be built.”
Privacy advocate, Edward Snowden, also admitted using Signal everyday.
Oscar-winning filmmaker, Laura Poitras, was quoted saying, “Signal is the most scalable encryption tool we have. It is free and peer reviewed. I encourage people to use it everyday.”
Signal vs WhatsApp vs Telegram
First, let’s take a look at what Signal is. Signal Messenger, founded by Moxie Marlinspike and Brian Acton under Signal Foundation in 2018, is an open-source encrypted messaging application. The foundation’s objective is to provide its users an end-to-end encrypted app prioritizing users’ privacy, just as the tagline goes, “Say hello to privacy.” The app is available for download on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Brian Acton was, in fact, the co-founder of WhatsApp and left the company in 2017, three years after Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion. He then donated $50 million to fund Signal. The catch here is, even WhatsApp uses Signal’s end-to-end encryption protocol.
Now that you know a little more about Signal, is it worth a try? With popular personalities recommending it, will Signal really meet the users’ privacy expectations? Let’s compare it with the social network giant WhatsApp and Telegram, and see who wins.
1. Encryption (Signal Emerges Victorious)
Applying encryption to messages so that only the receiving device can decrypt is called end-to-end encryption. Normal SMS texts are not encrypted making them vulnerable to interception.
Signal app is end-to-end encrypted which means the application cannot access the private chats, media, and files. So what happens in Signal, stays in Signal.
WhatsApp also provides end-to-end encryption but unfortunately, it has access to personal information. It has all the chats stored in the application’s cloud which are not even encrypted.
Telegram provides end-to-end encryption only for secret chats plus all calls. You can mark your chats as secret chats for better security.
2. Chat Backups (Signal Again)
Signal doesn’t store the chats of any kind, private or group. All the chats are only locally available on the application. Only non-delivered messages are stored in its server until the devices are online again.
WhatsApp claims it doesn’t typically store the messages in its server but only when the messages are undelivered or during media forwarding. It also has access to all the private information like IP address, locations, group details, status, etc. Also, it allows you to backup your chats in Google Drive or iCloud.
Messages, photos, videos, and documents are stored in Telegram server for better accessibility across devices without using third-party backups.
3. File Sharing (Telegram Wins This)
On Signal, you can share all file types up to 100MB
Photos, videos, and audio files of up to 16 MB and documents of up to 100MB size can be shared
File sharing up to 2 GB is possible
4. Group Chat And Group Video Calls (WhatsApp and Telegram Share The Honors)
A maximum of 150 members can join a group, allows group video calls with 8 people
Up to 256 members can form a group, allows group video calls with 8 people
Offers group chats with up to 200,000 members, enables one-to-one video calls, not group video calling
Must read: How to make free video calls on Android
Unlike WhatsApp, you don’t have to create a single-member group for notes. Signal has a ‘Note to Self’ feature for that.
Other features include status updates, live location sharing
Helps you create channels where you can send messages to a large audience, amazing extra features like quizzes, polls, bots, and hashtags.
When it comes to privacy, Signal is the clear winner among all the messaging platforms. However, if you care about additional features like file sharing, group chat with big audiences, more data sharing capabilities, and security, Telegram is a better app for you. If you feel okay with your data being shared with third-party apps and quite comfortable with the features WhatsApp provides, you can certainly stick to it.
I hope this messaging guide helps you in deciding which application to use for your chatting needs. If you have any questions or if I have missed something, please leave your comments below. Cheers!