These messaging apps are available for various platforms. Make sure you choose an app that supports your operating system.
Leslie Walker / Lifewire
There are a few reasons why you may want to use a messaging app instead of traditional text messaging. For example, you don’t have to pay extra fees to chat with people in other countries, and you don’t even have to give out your phone number in most cases. Messaging apps are especially helpful for contacting co-workers outside of regular work hours since you can send documents and make video calls. For distributed workforces, messaging apps provide a way for employees in different time zones to conduct meetings and keep in touch throughout the workday.
What We Like
Voice and video calls support up to 10 people.
Integrates with your Google account.
Google Voice users can send texts to non-Hangouts users.
What We Don’t Like
Alert sounds cannot be customized per contact.
No built-in GIF gallery.
Google Hangouts supports text messages, phone calls, and video calls between Google accounts users. You can have private, one-on-one conversations as well as group chats with up to 150 people. The app lets you share videos, photos, stickers, and emojis. Google Hangouts also lets you share your location with others directly from the app, suppress all notifications for any conversation, favorite conversations, and archive messages to declutter the conversation view.
Voxer is a walkie-talkie, or push-to-talk, app that delivers live voice messages. The message is either instantly played through your friend’s phone speakers if the phone is turned on and the app is running, or it’s stored as a recorded message like voicemail. Voxer also supports texting, photo messaging, and emoticons, as well as military-grade security and encryption.
You can also make notes to yourself, star and share messages, and enable what’s called Extreme notifications to get repeated alerts and louder sounds. Voxer Pro is the only way to get some features, like unlimited message storage, admin controlled chats, message recall, Extreme notifications, chat broadcasting, hands-free walkie-talkie mode, and more.
All the options and features are self-explanatory.
Stores a history of past messages.
Messages you’ve sent can be shared over other apps like email.
What We Don’t Like
No option to cancel a message while it’s in progress.
Must pay to unlock extra features.
HeyTell is another push-to-talk app that allows for instant voice messaging. A push notification tells the recipient when a voice message is received, and the message will play when they open the app. If the recipient has the app open at the time of the message, it will play for them automatically.
One thing that sets this messaging app apart from most others is that you don’t have to make a user account to get started. Just enter your name and start adding contacts by their phone number or email address. The app is free, but there are in-app premium options for advanced features like ringtones, a voice changer, message expiration, and more.
Includes free calling, texting, and picture messaging.
Has a GIF gallery built in.
Your phone number can be changed at any time.
What We Don’t Like
Can only get numbers from Canada or the U.S.
International calls are not free for non-Talkatone users.
Your number will expire if not used within a 30 day period.
Talkatone offers free voice calling and text messaging over Wi-Fi or data plans. It essentially turns your tablet into a phone even if it doesn’t have a cellular plan. When you sign up, you get a real phone number for free. You can call not just other Talkatone users but even regular landlines.
This messaging app works much like your regular phone’s calling and texting features. You can change ringtones, hide texts from showing in notifications, change your voicemail greeting, block numbers, access your phone’s contacts, and more. Talkatone Plus can be purchased to unlock more features like call forwarding and voicemail transcriptions. You can also remove ads and get unlimited international calling for a monthly fee.
Contact People is a mobile application that provides a solution for business caller identification and easy exchange of digital business cards which are transferrable and give more access to business real-time information, events and news updates through mobile business feed.