More about the weeping bunny later…
Ellis Hamburger is a writer for The Verge and owner of possibly the best Twitter handle ever. Though maybe a bit smug on camera the kid clearly knows his stuff, particularly when it comes to messaging apps. Here’s Ellis on a recent episode of The Vergecast, dropping some science on Facebook’s recent acquisition of WhatsApp:
That’s him on the right in the first half of the video…
Anyway, imagine my surprise to read this headline on an Ellis Hamburger-penned piece:
Wait, what? Tele-who?
The headline might be technically correct — Telegram Messenger is apparently at the top of the iOS App Store right now — but the post carries no mention whatsoever of another, far more legitimate contender for title of “world’s hottest messaging app”.
That app is from China, and in English it’s called WeChat.
Tech in Asia pegs WeChat’s user base at 279.1 million as of Q3 2013, with 100 million registered users outside of China. Domestically it has become far more than a simple messaging platform — mobile wallet functionality has enabled users to book taxis and even purchase smartphones.
For the rest of us, WeChat is a very capable messaging app. Unlike WhatsApp or Telegram, WeChat can be accessed via a desktop web browser. I’ve tested it briefly and I’d say that the killer feature is the many and varied animated GIFs that you can use as emoticons. Some are available for purchase but many are free, including Tuzki, the rabbit that I thought was WeChat’s mascot but is apparently a star in its own right.
I myself likely won’t switch from Google Hangouts because of WeChat’s limited data portability options. To be brutally honest, because it doesn’t support XMPP I probably won’t use it much at all. But you can’t deny WeChat’s popularity; that The Verge has barely acknowledged its existence is, well… it’s just kooky.
Obviously, the best chat app for you is whatever the bulk of you friends use. That said, you might be surprised to find that people you know are already using WeChat!