I discovered a new chat application while listening to the Linux Action Show today called Wire. While the chat application market is extremely crowded, this one has some stand out features which makes it worth checking out.
End to End Encryption
Not only are your text messages encrypted but audio and video communications are secured as well. This includes group calls. In addition, every conversation has a unique fingerprint that you can verify with the person on the other end. You can feel a little bit better knowing that your conversation isn’t being altered by a man in the middle.
The entire project is open source and the code can be found here. Why does this matter? Developers and security researchers can analyze the code to improve the software and close any security vulnerabilities that may arise. This is far better than having to trust that an organization with closed code is doing the right thing.
Cross Platform Support
Wire has desktop clients available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. You can also grab it on mobile for Andriod and iOS. You can also use the web application available on their site. It is too early to determine the update frequency for each application.
The Android mobile application is a thing of beauty. It is minimalistic in design but not in utility. You can tell the creators were trying to add all the right bells and whistles to attract users away from their competition. End to end encryption is enough to pique the interest the geeks in my social circle. However, if this thing has any shot at mainstream adoption it needs to match the neat tricks of its peers. Here is a quick list of features: - Text messaging (Duh!) - Audio calls - Video calls - Send a photo - Send a doodle - Lookup and send a gif (my personal favorite) - Send a ping - Send an audio snippet (with voice changers!!) - Send a video snippet - Send a file - Send your current location
Adding new devices can be pretty confusing. I am an avid Slack user so seeing all of my chat history is assumed. However, Wire treats each device as a unique end to end conversation. What does this mean? Let’s say you are using the mobile app and decide to install the desktop application as well. You won’t be able to see past messages from the mobile app on the desktop application. However, any new messages you receive will be visible on both devices.
I hope to recruit a few brave souls to help me stress test this to see how it works. If you decide to take the plunge, you can find me using my e-mail address email@example.com. My initial interactions with it have been quite positive. I will update this article in the future as I gain more experience with it.