Messaging or Chat


The title here may not be entirely helpful as the meaning may not be clear! The term messaging is fairly loose and chat even more so!

Chat is often referring to a text-based communication; each person types their comment to which the other responds. (This can be tedious without a proper keyboard) Some businesses use chat to communicate with customers through their website.
But note that chat is also usually available within a messaging app at the same time as a video call.

Messaging can cover a range of options, for instance, by leaving a text or voice message in an app like WhatsApp.
WhatsApp can also operate with voice chat like a phone call.

Some messaging can be like a phone call and include video if desired.
Examples are Facetime (Apple), Messenger (Facebook) and Skype - click for more(Microsoft).
Skype can also use just voice call and can call phones that do not have the app, such as landlines or other mobiles without the app installed.
There will be charges for these particular calls but video or voice only calls app to app through wifi are no cost calls. Facetime only works between Apple devices.

Since these services can run through WiFi they can be useful when travelling as free WiFi at hotels can cut the expense of phone calls.
Not all free WiFi will support long calls using this technology but, just to call home for 10 minutes, it can be helpful.

Accounts Required

Every one of these apps needs an account created to use them. WhatsApp also needs a mobile phone number to operate. It will not operate 'stand alone' on an iPad or tablet. It needs a SIM card and cellular number to work.

A Microsoft account is sufficient to use Skype and an Apple account from an iPhone or iPad should allow Facetime to operate.
Facebook Messenger requires a Facebook account but you do not have to then use Facebook to use Messenger.

There are many other apps for messaging but both participants need the same app to connect to each other.
Some of the popular apps are reviewed here.

Arranging a Call

To make a call with a messaging app, both parties need the app active. Because this is not always the case, it often requires arrangement, such as a text message, so that both sender and receiver are ready at the same time. You could leave the app active continuously but this can leave you open to a lot of data use as these apps use peer-to-peer networking meaning that your device could be relaying other people's calls while you are connected.

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