WeChat (iOS/Android/Windows Phone 8/S40/BlackBerry/web)
WeChat is currently the number one messaging application in India. Available for all top mobile applications and on web browsers through a QR code, WeChat goes beyond normal chatting features. One of the more prominent features is the ‘Live Chat’ facility in group chats that lets you chat with your friends audibly at the touch of a button. You can send QR codes to your friends to invite them to group chats, can back up your chat history so you can restore it to any new devices, can make video calls and can use a wide range of emoticons. Apart from sharing your photos, the app also lets your friends to comment on them and like them. Using an innovative ‘shake’ feature you could start chatting to any stranger who is shaking their phone at the same time as you. You can also chat with people around you, and can send ‘message in a bottle’.
Hangouts is the newest app from Google that replaces everything from Google Talk and G+ Messenger to finally bring all Google messaging under one roof. It allows one-to-one and group conversations along with photo sharing, video calls between friends on different platforms like iOS, Android and on the web through the Chrome browser. All your conversations and notifications stay in sync. You can browse your chat history, all the photos you share are uploaded on Google+ and you can choose from hundreds of hand-drawn emoji.
Line (iOS/Android/Windows Phone 8/BlackBerry/Nokia Asha/Windows/Mac OSX)
Line is one of the fastest growing messaging applications in the world. Apart from being available on all major mobile platforms, Line also has dedicated apps for desktop operating systems. Like any other app, Line lets you chat, video and audio call, send group messages, and customise the app with any wallpaper of your choice. You can invite your friends to chat using a QR code or a simple shake feature. But what makes Line unique and stand out among all the apps is the amazing collection of the more than 250 hand-drawn original stickers and emoticons that suit every mood and occasion. Further, if you are not happy with the stickers provided, you can head over to the sticker shop and buy extra stickers. Another unique feature is the Line Games, which lets you play simple games with your friends wherever they are.
Kik Messenger (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Ovi, BlackBerry)
The popular Kik messenger prides itself on being fast, simple and personal because, well, it is fast, very simple to use, and because it uses a username instead of a phone number it keeps your privacy intact and lets you connect with others using services like Instagram, SocialCam and Viddy. One of its most innovative features is the display of a D or R beside the message you have sent to denote if the message has been read or delivered.