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A Detailed Comparison of Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger IM Apps

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Ever since instant messaging overtook traditional texting, there has never been more when it comes to choice.

However, it is even harder to pick one from either WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.

Facebook bought WhatsApp for a fee of $19 billion early last year. However, the company has continued to incline its native chat app Facebook Messenger as a serious competitor to the services offered on its acquired app. Nonetheless, the two have a combined market share of close to 80% as far as the IM industry is concerned.

There have been numerous rumors pointing towards a possible merger between these two, but Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg has been persistent that WhatsApp’s feel and look will remain the same and that the two apps will keep on co-existing as separate apps.

Facebook Messenger, just like its adopted brother WhatsApp, is available on multiple mobile platforms that include Android, iOS and Windows Phone. The chat app is free to download and install on all compatible platforms.

So, will it be WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger?

Cost of using

WhatsApp is a free to download and install app, but the free part lasts for a year. After that, users have to pay $1 annually to keep using the app. There is no difference between the free and paid-for version of the app.

As mentioned earlier, Facebook Messenger is free to download and use for all compatible platforms. It requires your Facebook credentials to assign you an account, but you can also use a phone number to sign up for an account on the latest version. This means that access to your phone contacts and Facebook contacts right from the app is no longer a problem.

Bottom line: The fact that Facebook Messenger is free for life gives it an upper hand over WhatsApp. However, there is huge doubt that enthusiasts of WhatsApp will dump it just because of a $1 annual fee. Since both applications make use of the internet, data charges may apply in cases where Wi-Fi connections are not accessible.

User interface

Many tech pundits have argued that WhatsApp has a poor user interface, especially when pitted against Messenger. This looks to be true in some way as the app appears to be functional, but it wears a rather dated look. Ever since Facebook acquired it, some UI redesigns have come in, but still, the app is still in dire need of an extensive overhaul of its design.

There is no doubt that everything inside the app feels a bit cramped, cheap and somehow nasty. While these perfectly fit a new app, WhatsApp is not a new application in the industry. Facebook Messenger on the other hand is a direct opposite of what you get on WhatsApp. The look is slick and the UI is very intuitive. Everything you want is directly visible on the screen via the Clock symbol (Recent messages), Heads symbol (Groups), List symbol (People) and Cog symbol (Settings).

Bottom line: Facebook Messenger gets another win on this round too.

Features

WhatsApp has more than 900 million people on its list of monthly active users. These people are keen users of the app’s instant messaging services that include images, videos, text as well as audio files. It is also possible to exchange locations and contacts as well as make free WhatsApp voice calls using this app.

Facebook Messenger on the other hand has over 700 million users who use the same instant messaging services that include text, images, videos as well as audio files. Furthermore, it is possible to make free voice calls as well as video calls using this platform. Like WhatsApp, Messenger can be used to share locations, but it adds other abilities such as image search, facial recognition and a self-destructing message feature that is currently being tested.

Facebook Messenger will also be receiving M, a digital voice assistant that is currently available to sections of users in the USA. Furthermore, the chat app can also be used to transfer money to other users for free.

Bottom line: For the third time, Facebook Messenger is a clear winner.

So, which IM for you? Well, this will depend on how you have invested in either of these two apps – WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. It will be hard to convince users of either to app to forego it for the other. Nonetheless, Facebook Messenger has everything you can ever want in an IM app, but it still has a lot to do before it matches WhatsApp.

If you love WhatsApp dearly, there is still reason for you to check out Messenger. One thing that might keep most people glued to WhatsApp is the many friends they have using the same platform as compared to Facebook Messenger.