Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 19th Feb 2014 22:20 UTC
Internet & Networking

Facebook today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire WhatsApp, a rapidly growing cross-platform mobile messaging company, for a total of approximately $16 billion, including $4 billion in cash and approximately $12 billion worth of Facebook shares. The agreement also provides for an additional $3 billion in restricted stock units to be granted to WhatsApp’s founders and employees that will vest over four years subsequent to closing.

A huge deal. WhatsApp is one of the biggest messaging services is in the world - maybe even the biggest.

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Bye Whatsup
by bowkota on Wed 19th Feb 2014 22:31 UTC
bowkota
Member since:
2011-10-12

So now we have to find a replacement for Whatsup.
Great..

Reply Score: 1

RE: Bye Whatsup
by orsg on Wed 19th Feb 2014 23:06 UTC in reply to "Bye Whatsup"
orsg Member since:
2011-02-09

Why "now"? Basically we have to find a replacement for WhatsApp since it exists...

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Bye Whatsup
by woegjiub on Wed 19th Feb 2014 23:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Bye Whatsup"
woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

This.

It's almost as bad as viber - send all conversation to a centralised server, as well as the entire contacts list?

I can't wait until tox is viable.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Bye Whatsup
by aargh on Thu 20th Feb 2014 11:51 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Bye Whatsup"
aargh Member since:
2009-10-12
RE[4]: Bye Whatsup
by woegjiub on Thu 20th Feb 2014 13:29 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Bye Whatsup"
woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

Well, damn.

Looks like I'll stick to not talking to people ;)

Reply Score: 4

Telegram maybe?!
by pulse301 on Thu 20th Feb 2014 14:35 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Bye Whatsup"
pulse301 Member since:
2009-09-03
RE: Telegram maybe?!
by WereCatf on Thu 20th Feb 2014 15:21 UTC in reply to "Telegram maybe?!"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

I have to ask: does Telegram allow you to recover your password if you've lost it? Either by sending you your password in mail or by letting you reset it to a new one or anything?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Telegram maybe?!
by ichi on Thu 20th Feb 2014 15:52 UTC in reply to "RE: Telegram maybe?!"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

I have to ask: does Telegram allow you to recover your password if you've lost it? Either by sending you your password in mail or by letting you reset it to a new one or anything?


There's no password.

AFAIK it generates a key when you verify your phone number with the SMS code. If the key is lost for whatever reason then you can run the verification again.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Bye Whatsup
by Bringbackanonposting on Wed 19th Feb 2014 23:24 UTC in reply to "Bye Whatsup"
Bringbackanonposting Member since:
2005-11-16

Same here. I'm tired of making these companies rich - and now richer.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Bye Whatsup
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 20th Feb 2014 06:32 UTC in reply to "Bye Whatsup"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Can you explain why anyone has every used whatsapp? It seems like chat has been a solved problem since 1963 or so.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Bye Whatsup
by hussam on Thu 20th Feb 2014 06:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Bye Whatsup"
hussam Member since:
2006-08-17

Can you explain why anyone has every used whatsapp? It seems like chat has been a solved problem since 1963 or so.

Because you get only one account per phone number. It looks more professional that way.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Bye Whatsup
by osvil on Thu 20th Feb 2014 15:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Bye Whatsup"
osvil Member since:
2012-10-25

In fact, the real reason why it has so much adoption is the phone-number as ID. And it is not about "not having to register an account". The huge deal is that, if you have the phone contact, and the contact has whatsapp, then you can chat with your contact. No need to get his user. Your phone agenda is filled with phone numbers, you know. So for many people this is the easy way to chat with friends, even some old friends that they were no longer in contact.

My guess this is specially successful in countries where SMS were a complete rip-off, like in Spain (it was cheaper to send a SMS to any other country in Europe that inside the same country, as inter-EU SMS had the rate limited by the EU... just imagine).

In a sense, it is really used as a "better SMS that is (almost) free". Simplicity and no adds also helped.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Bye Whatsup
by shmerl on Thu 20th Feb 2014 07:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Bye Whatsup"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Whatsapp exploits convenience in a nasty way. Someone "smart" came up with idea that they can use mobile device identification (IMEI) as a base for user identification, so Whatsapp doesn't require users to register like normal services would do. Instead it's enough to install the application on the mobile device and it "magically" connects one to the service (of course under the hood it uses the said IMEI). It saves one time step of registration (which takes how much, 2-5 minutes at most?).

The same thing which is presented as a benefit is actually a serious drawback, because such approach means inability to use secure authentication, i.e. users can't choose their ids and passwords, it also exposes device id externally. And this severe security deficiency comes for the sake of saving 5 minutes of the registration process! It's a completely crooked idea and a disproportionate benefit (drawbacks are much more serious and continuous, unlike the benefit), however many people eagerly buy this bait and claim that Whatsapp is so great and "user friendly".

Another downside of this all is inability to use the same account from multiple devices like normal services allow.

Original developers of Whatsapp did something really crooked by exploiting natural desire for convenience, while hiding from their users that they pay for it with their security and the price is way disproportionate.

Edited 2014-02-20 07:28 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Bye Whatsup
by caudex on Thu 20th Feb 2014 10:00 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Bye Whatsup"
caudex Member since:
2008-07-05

It doesn't rely upon IMEI, it simply uses your phone number to connect you to your contacts, and the the other way around.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Bye Whatsup
by shmerl on Thu 20th Feb 2014 15:48 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Bye Whatsup"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

May be they changed that already, but it did rely on IMEI in the past for sure. Relying on the number is a bit better but not much really.

Edited 2014-02-20 15:48 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Bye Whatsup
by mistersoft on Fri 21st Feb 2014 09:37 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Bye Whatsup"
mistersoft Member since:
2011-01-05

I like your comment. mind if i repost the content on FB ?

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Bye Whatsup
by shmerl on Fri 21st Feb 2014 17:03 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Bye Whatsup"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Sure, no problem, just link back here for the reference.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Bye Whatsup
by ichi on Thu 20th Feb 2014 12:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Bye Whatsup"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

Can you explain why anyone has every used whatsapp? It seems like chat has been a solved problem since 1963 or so.


The reason so many people use it is that it works exactly the same as sending SMS messages (although with extra features):

-No account setup: launch the app, receive the verification SMS and your are good to go.
-No need to exchange IDs with your contacts. If it's on your phone's contact list then it's also on your Whatsapp contacts.
-The point above makes it quite convenient for casual business communication.
-Minimal complexity: no voice/video calls, no integrated stuff, one single client on one single device... it does only one thing, and it's good enough at that.

Years ago when Whatsapp started making waves people were like "it's cool! free SMS!", which made me think "heck haven't you ever heard of chat apps before?".

But then if you think about it they had a point: it has succeeded not because of it's features as a chat app, but because it works exactly the same as the old text messages.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Bye Whatsup
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 21st Feb 2014 00:50 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Bye Whatsup"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Interesting. I guess I understand why it took off now, thanks for the education.

Personally, I think it has the same limitations as SMS. IE, phone to phone. I wouldn't be able to use my computer to chat with anyone. But maybe the fact is people don't use a real laptop/desktop enough these days where that would be a draw back. Google's hangouts seems to be a better solution in that regards. I wouldn't be surprised if Whatsapp gets replaced by hangouts. Google was very sly in its design and implementation.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Bye Whatsup
by ichi on Fri 21st Feb 2014 01:54 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Bye Whatsup"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

I prefer Hangouts too. Being able to use it on your PC makes it more convenient for me, and you don't even need a client, just a browser plugin.

And also with two step authentication you can safely use it on public computers.

But then it requires a Google account, which is an entry barrier compared to Whatsapp. I don't see it taking over as long as that's a requirement, other apps like Telegram might have better chances just because of that.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Bye Whatsup
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 21st Feb 2014 04:54 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Bye Whatsup"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

But everyone I know already has a google account. If people buy android phones with hangouts as the default text message app, Google wins. Downloading whatsapp is a barrier, imho. Its duplicate, non free functionality.

Furthermore, as their wasn't any barrier to entry with Whatsapp, there is no barrier to exit either.

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: Bye Whatsup
by shmerl on Fri 21st Feb 2014 07:29 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Bye Whatsup"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Hangouts is also non-free. It's not only not federated (like Google Talk was in the past) it's also a closed protocol. It's a shame that Google didn't open it up or didn't develop in XMPP what they supposedly were missing.

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Bye Whatsup
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 21st Feb 2014 15:34 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Bye Whatsup"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Oh, no. I mean hangouts is free as in beer. It doesn't have the yearly subscription charge that whatsapp does.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Bye Whatsup
by bolomkxxviii on Thu 20th Feb 2014 15:10 UTC in reply to "Bye Whatsup"
bolomkxxviii Member since:
2006-05-19

Try Glassboard. The permissions are much more palatable than Whatsap anyway.

Reply Score: 2

XMPP
by evert on Wed 19th Feb 2014 22:37 UTC
evert
Member since:
2005-07-06

Facebook chat uses XMPP. Whatsapp uses a closed kind of XMPP. Great for the future of XMPP. Hopefully Facebook will keep it open.

Also good for security. Whatsapp really did hit the bottom of security.

Let's fight against SIP as it is mostly used to maintain old-fashioned phone numbers. The XMPP style "numbers" can just be the same as your email address - and that is just how I like it. One address, multiple channels (mail, IM, audio, video). Also, old numbers are controlled outside the own organization, while XMPP is fully controlled by the domain owner.

Reply Score: 1

RE: XMPP
by WorknMan on Wed 19th Feb 2014 22:50 UTC in reply to "XMPP"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Facebook chat uses XMPP. Whatsapp uses a closed kind of XMPP. Great for the future of XMPP. Hopefully Facebook will keep it open.


I would be happy if Facebook could just figure out a way to deliver notifications properly for private messages, esp on Android. I only get notifications for about 1 out of every 5 PMs I get, across a variety of Android devices, and the Windows 8.1 Metro app.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: XMPP
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 19th Feb 2014 22:51 UTC in reply to "RE: XMPP"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Really? Works fine here (with the Messenger application installed!). Bug, perhaps?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: XMPP
by WorknMan on Wed 19th Feb 2014 23:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: XMPP"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Really? Works fine here (with the Messenger application installed!). Bug, perhaps?


I have Facebook Messenger installed on the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7, as well as the Metro app on Windows 8.1. I get notifications for about 1 out of every 5 messages I receive on the Nexus 4. On Windows 8.1, it works less frequently than that. On the Nexus 7, it almost never works. I eventually told friends and family to just send me an SMS if it's really important ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: XMPP
by shmerl on Wed 19th Feb 2014 23:36 UTC in reply to "XMPP"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Facebook isn't federated, so the fact that they use XMPP isn't very useful. However if they axe this Whatsapp abomination and merge it into their regular XMPP service it would be still a good outcome (one non standard walled garden service less).

Reply Score: 5

RE: XMPP
by WereCatf on Thu 20th Feb 2014 02:29 UTC in reply to "XMPP"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Facebook chat uses XMPP. Whatsapp uses a closed kind of XMPP. Great for the future of XMPP.


I like XMPP. I like how it's decentralized and works similar to e-mail and I like the fact that I can host my own server for that. I just wish there were some good clients to use with XMPP, especially for Android; I'm using Xabber on my phone, but it's...rather limited. It doesn't do audio or video chat, it doesn't do file-transfer, it's just barebones text-chat. I tried Tigase-messenger, but it's buggy and often my messages get lost in /dev/null for no apparent good reason.

Also, I haven't heard of anything interesting happening wrt. the protocol itself, it seems to have stagnated and it's gotten outdated. It doesn't offer any of the things that people look for in modern IM-applications and platforms, like e.g. hires avatars, or the ability to store a small selection of pictures on the server on your profile so others could peruse them even when you're not present. Especially the avatars are horribly outdated by today's standards as the spec officially, as far as I can remember, restricted them to 64x64 pixels in size.

IMHO there should be at least some more attention paid to features that your average citizen uses just so we could hopefully wean more of them out of proprietary, insecure solutions. I mean, we all would benefit if a secure, fully-open spec gained ground.

Edited 2014-02-20 02:31 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: XMPP
by shmerl on Thu 20th Feb 2014 03:06 UTC in reply to "RE: XMPP"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Jitsi for Android is progressing: https://download.jitsi.org/jitsi/nightly/android/

I agree that in general clients are lagging behind. Telepathy framework still doesn't support OTR and ZRTP for instance and clients which are built on top of it don't enable them accordingly (KDE Telepathy, Sailfish one and others).

Edited 2014-02-20 03:08 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: XMPP
by Troels on Thu 20th Feb 2014 09:20 UTC in reply to "XMPP"
Troels Member since:
2005-07-11

Just to stop spreading inaccurate information: SIP does not require the use of old fashioned phone numbers, the username can be almost anything, and in fact often is internally in a PBX, and is only translated to a phone number when you try to like, make a phone call :-)

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: XMPP
by evert on Fri 21st Feb 2014 00:03 UTC in reply to "RE: XMPP"
evert Member since:
2005-07-06

And please stop misquoting me ;-)

I literally wrote: "Let's fight against SIP as it is mostly used to maintain old-fashioned phone numbers."

That you can use SIP without phone numbers becomes less relevant now that the whole ecosystem is being conquered by traditional telco companies.

That's why I argued for XMPP, which has an ecosystem in which often an email address is being used.

Pidgin and Jitsi are good XMPP clients.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: XMPP
by shmerl on Fri 21st Feb 2014 03:36 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: XMPP"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

JID isn't logically related to e-mail address. It just has the same syntax. i.e. user@domain but it has nothing to do with e-mail. Such syntax is commonplace in other Internet protocols like FTP. It can happen to match an e-mail address (in case of Google it does for example) but it's not a given thing at all.

Edited 2014-02-21 03:40 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: XMPP
by evert on Fri 21st Feb 2014 08:02 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: XMPP"
evert Member since:
2005-07-06

True, but my point is that it happens naturally -- while with SIP, it happens naturally that the userid will be a phone number outside the control of the own organisation or domain owner.

Reply Score: 2

RE: XMPP
by ssokolow on Mon 24th Feb 2014 11:34 UTC in reply to "XMPP"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

Let's fight against SIP as it is mostly used to maintain old-fashioned phone numbers. The XMPP style "numbers" can just be the same as your email address - and that is just how I like it. One address, multiple channels (mail, IM, audio, video). Also, old numbers are controlled outside the own organization, while XMPP is fully controlled by the domain owner.


Given that it reuses components from libjingle, it may also be easier to bridge WebRTC to XMPP+Jingle than to SIP.

(Which matters to me because I want to ditch Skype and WebRTC shows the most promise for an open-source VoIP system where I can shoulder the burden of making it work for my non-technical friends.)

Reply Score: 2

I prefer BlackBerry Messenger
by mattymoo on Wed 19th Feb 2014 23:08 UTC
mattymoo
Member since:
2011-12-29

I really like their mobile messaging app. It is just so polished and flawless.

I do find it annoying having friends spread so thinly across so many different networks though.

* IRC
* non-affiliated XMPP-OTR
* Facebook
* Google Hangouts
* Whatsapp
* SMS
* BBM

I know a few of those could be consolidated with a solid XMPP app, ChatSecure is getting there, but is still quite buggy and unfinished compared to the likes of BBM.

Reply Score: 5

Could it be ~personal?
by zima on Wed 19th Feb 2014 23:09 UTC
zima
Member since:
2005-07-06

A revenge of sorts, targeting with WhatsApp Google and their Hangouts messaging service, for pushing G+? (who knows, it might really become irrelevant)

Reply Score: 3

RE: Could it be ~personal?
by CapEnt on Thu 20th Feb 2014 02:29 UTC in reply to "Could it be ~personal?"
CapEnt Member since:
2005-12-18

If it was revenge, it was well done. Google really deserved that.

Google's increasingly aggressive way to push forward their services are now into a point that it is becoming disturbing. Looks like Google wants everything on itself and nothing out.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Could it be ~personal?
by jgfenix on Thu 20th Feb 2014 09:59 UTC in reply to "Could it be ~personal?"
jgfenix Member since:
2006-05-25

It´s mostly a defensive move like with Instagram. They don´t want to be the next Myspace. The other day I read a news that young peopla are running away from Facebook to other social networks like Twitter, Whatsapp, Line, Instagram ...

Reply Score: 1

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Yeah, I know. Calling Whatsapp a social network seems like a stretch. Its a chat program, right? I mean, what's to exclude standard sms as a "social network" other than the fact that it was really a dirty hack in the early 1980's cell network?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Could it be ~personal?
by jgfenix on Fri 21st Feb 2014 15:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Could it be ~personal?"
jgfenix Member since:
2006-05-25

Whatsapp can evolve. Think of Línea with its games, Timeline, Oficial accounts, etc.

Reply Score: 2

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Yes, someone could create a social network around whatsapp, but it is not now a social network.

Also, never heard of Linea. So maybe I don't quite understand what you mean.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Could it be ~personal?
by jgfenix on Fri 21st Feb 2014 19:16 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Could it be ~personal?"
jgfenix Member since:
2006-05-25

I wanted to say Line but muy phone "corrected" it.

Reply Score: 2

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Well, I've never heard of "line" outside of a geometric or queuing situation either.

I can only imagine its a useful app when your queued up with a bunch of strangers and want to swap positions in line for other favors.

Like, I'll swap you this prime position in line for a ride home and a beer. Plus I also knit hats out of alpaca fur if you'd prefer.

Reply Score: 2

There no escape
by ichi on Wed 19th Feb 2014 23:30 UTC
ichi
Member since:
2007-03-06

So we'll be getting CandyCrush requests in there too?

Can't wait.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 20th Feb 2014 00:12 UTC
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

So WhatsApp cloned BBM, surpassed it, and sold for more than BBRY is worth.

Magnificent.

Reply Score: 8

Time to move to Telegram
by sergio on Thu 20th Feb 2014 01:22 UTC
sergio
Member since:
2005-07-06

I love Whatsapp but I don't trust in Facebook at all. We don't need another Google.

Lately I was using Telegram, I highly recommend it, It has a Mac OS X client too. It's (mostly) open source, very lightweight and simple. Give it a try.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Time to move to Telegram
by shmerl on Thu 20th Feb 2014 03:09 UTC in reply to "Time to move to Telegram"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Lately I was using Telegram, I highly recommend it

Bad idea. Another centralized and walled service, not any better than Skype or Whatsapp. It has no end to end encryption, so server owner can read all your messages. Server is not open source. Account is required to be bound to a phone number (what for?). And etc. and etc. Not sure why it's needed at all, it's awfully designed and presented especially in the age of mass surveillance.

Edited 2014-02-20 03:18 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Time to move to Telegram
by sergio on Thu 20th Feb 2014 04:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Time to move to Telegram"
sergio Member since:
2005-07-06

It has end-to-end encryption, you have to use the "secret chat" option. I don't know how secure It is though.

BTW if I need to transmit super secret information I'll do it by email using gpg encryption really... expect serious privacy from a messaging app running in an ultra insecure technology like mobile phones is pretty naive.

I think, overall, Telegram is a huge improvement over Whatsapp, ie. having a Mac OSX client is a killer feature for me.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Time to move to Telegram
by shmerl on Thu 20th Feb 2014 06:15 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Time to move to Telegram"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Anything can be considered an improvement over Whatsapp. Whatsapp is just horrible in a whole range of aspects including security.

I don't see what Telegram can do better than any up to date XMPP service. For OS X there is Adium client for example.

Edited 2014-02-20 06:17 UTC

Reply Score: 3

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Well lots of people like using Whatsapp and it is awesome. It is a lot cheaper than SMS in spain and I can just get on and use it. I honestly don't care about the security of me telling my Girlfriend I will meet her after work at the Tapas bar.

People really don't care about the same things you do and until you realise that, you will keep on making these ridiculous "this is terrible" remarks ... when it really isn't.

Edited 2014-02-20 20:15 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Time to move to Telegram
by shmerl on Thu 20th Feb 2014 22:57 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Time to move to Telegram"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

People don't care about those things until they get hit with them. Then they might start caring but it can be too late.

That wasn't the point about Whatsapp however. Making a conscious choice of not caring about security for whatever reason is one thing. Whatsapp is not that case, because most people have no clue about the underlying problem and developers don't care or even intentionally don't want to inform them. I'm sure they'd lose quite a number of users if they'd fairly warn them that they sacrifice security for convenience.

Edited 2014-02-20 22:59 UTC

Reply Score: 3

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

People don't care about those things until they get hit with them. Then they might start caring but it can be too late.


That is their own fault then.

Whatsapp is not that case, because most people have no clue about the underlying problem and developers don't care or even intentionally don't want to inform them. I'm sure they'd lose quite a number of users if they'd fairly warn them that they sacrifice security for convenience.


People regularly sacrifice security for convenience. It isn't as bigger deal as you make out.

Edited 2014-02-21 09:55 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Time to move to Telegram
by shmerl on Fri 21st Feb 2014 17:22 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Time to move to Telegram"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

It's a big deal when they do it to others and especially when they don't inform them. It's dishonest and disgusting. That's what Whatsapp is doing.

Reply Score: 2

The P2P alternative...is coming :)
by Alfman on Thu 20th Feb 2014 05:48 UTC
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

Hi guys,

I've continued researching bits and pieces for the Peer to Peer network that some of us had been discussing, and I've started some prototypes for it. I've decided that I'm going to work on it and maybe push for an alpha version hopefully by summer.

I'm not a huge fan of browser based technologies and I prefer native apps for numerous reasons. However I'm overlooking my opinion in the interests of lowering the barrier to entry and getting more people on when it's ready. The prototype uses the WebRTC interface to work in a browser. The main negatives of WebRTC for this project are that it needs a server to bootstrap the clients every startup, the webpage has to be kept open, and it's going to be annoying to integrate native clients. But at least once connected all the traffic and storage are bonafide peer to peer!

Last time we talked about what "user identity" means in a P2P network, a global namespace would be disastrous, GUIDs are unfriendly, so I'm leaning towards a federated solution, possibly openid. Something like namecoin might also be an option. Ideas are welcome.

P2P routing is a very fun CS problem. We cannot connect each peer in a full mesh topology, so we have to find a way to route through other peers. The regular internet routes using a global routing table hundreds of megabytes in size at each backbone router to find the next hop of every packet. This doesn't scale for us, so we need a new approach.

What I'm working on is another scheme that assigns each peer a globally unique Virtual IP address. A VIP is a hash of a public crypto key, so it's impossible to forge and encryption can be built right into the network. The VIP could be permanent or temporary and would be independent of one's physical IP. One peer could contact any other on the network using the VIP. I also envision this VIP being used to host services in the long term. I've worked out an algorithm that should be able to route with minimal resources using a greedy N-ary search without knowing anything other than one's own peers. In effect, we'll guaranty that the packet will make progress as it traverses the network (it will never take a hop that places it further away from the target VIP). Greedy algorithms always find local maxima, so the network has to take be interconnected in that arrangement. This gives the network some interesting properties. I can't wait to see how well it works in the wild!


If anybody's interested in any of this or wants to get involved, please email me:alfman _a_ evergrove.com. I didn't get any takers last time, but I definitely enjoy talking about these things and it would be nice to get others involved. I'll be out of the country for a while, so I won't be able to respond much till I get back.

Edited 2014-02-20 05:58 UTC

Reply Score: 4

tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

Why not just contribute to Tox?

Reply Score: 3

Comment by TusharG
by TusharG on Thu 20th Feb 2014 06:14 UTC
TusharG
Member since:
2005-07-06

Do we need to find replacement of Whatsapp? why? Once it becomes part of Facebook, will it not be safe? Or Its more of a privacy concerns? or we should not keep all our data with one vendor?

Reply Score: 2

famous ?
by Tractor on Thu 20th Feb 2014 08:18 UTC
Tractor
Member since:
2006-08-18

Not only I never used nor heard about WhatsApp before today, but no one around me has ever used it. A few rare lucky people heard about it.

And that's the "most famous messenger app in the world" ?

Am I supposed to buy that on the ground of some fabricated numbers from an unknown source ?

Reply Score: 2

RE: famous ?
by pandronic on Thu 20th Feb 2014 08:37 UTC in reply to "famous ?"
pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

In my country it's huge. It has almost replaced Y!M which had a 90%+ share. I guess it depends where you're from. What are people using where you live?

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: famous ?
by hussam on Thu 20th Feb 2014 09:14 UTC in reply to "RE: famous ?"
hussam Member since:
2006-08-17

In my country it's huge. It has almost replaced Y!M which had a 90%+ share. I guess it depends where you're from. What are people using where you live?

Same here. It's as big as facebook if not more famous where I live.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: famous ?
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 21st Feb 2014 05:16 UTC in reply to "RE: famous ?"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

That's really interesting. Can you explain why you think it replaced an existing, free to use chat network?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: famous ?
by pandronic on Fri 21st Feb 2014 06:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: famous ?"
pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

I think it's because Y!M apps on all platforms are crap and WhatsApp is so easy to use and setup - you don't need to create an account, you don't need to know the nickname of the people you want to add, you just install the app and everything works.

Reply Score: 2

RE: famous ?
by shmerl on Thu 20th Feb 2014 08:49 UTC in reply to "famous ?"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Same thing, I don't know anyone who actually uses it. But in some places it's more common.

Edited 2014-02-20 08:49 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: famous ?
by Lobotomik on Thu 20th Feb 2014 09:45 UTC in reply to "famous ?"
Lobotomik Member since:
2006-01-03

Where are you from? What do people use there?

I don't think I know anybody with a smartphone in Spain that does not use it. I think the convenience of Whatsapp is what has put a smartphone, cheap or not, in the hands of almost everybody in Spain above age 5 and below age 75.

Then, because you can use it together with a number of other messagers in the same smartphone (Whatsapp, Hangouts, Facebook, Samsung, Line) the friction to switch to any other would be quite low. The moment Whatsapp is flooded with Candy Crush messages and Facebook garbage, users will flee to a competitor. My bet is Hangouts, which is already installed and running in almost every smartphone (iPhones here are a relative rarity). It also has the advantage of running just fine in a PC too, and in your Wifi tablet.

Reply Score: 4

Comment by twitterfire
by twitterfire on Thu 20th Feb 2014 09:24 UTC
twitterfire
Member since:
2008-09-11

Using Whatsapp instead of voice calls and text messages will make it easier for NSA to tap into your private calls. Just ask Facebook to do it.

Reply Score: 4

My phone number
by pysiak on Thu 20th Feb 2014 10:27 UTC
pysiak
Member since:
2008-01-01

Does it mean my resistance to give my phone # to facebook was in vain because they got it through WhatsApp?

Reply Score: 5

RE: My phone number
by daedalus on Thu 20th Feb 2014 11:17 UTC in reply to "My phone number"
daedalus Member since:
2011-01-14

Does it mean my resistance to give my phone # to facebook was in vain because they got it through WhatsApp?

Why do you have a resistance to giving your phone number to Facebook, but at the same time have no problem handing it to Whatsapp? What makes them so much better than Facebook in your eyes?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: My phone number
by pysiak on Thu 20th Feb 2014 14:14 UTC in reply to "RE: My phone number"
pysiak Member since:
2008-01-01

"Does it mean my resistance to give my phone # to facebook was in vain because they got it through WhatsApp?
Why do you have a resistance to giving your phone number to Facebook, but at the same time have no problem handing it to Whatsapp? What makes them so much better than Facebook in your eyes? "
That's a good question. I must admit to being an erring human: I hesitated a lot before using whatsapp, I didn't install it in the first place.

I then caved in on a request to keep in touch with a friend far away.

I just deleted the account and uninstalled the app. At least that wasn't a painfull process, but very snappy one.

Anyway... I wanted to point to something else. Lack of control or foresight about your data in a service being sold to a hegemony at any point in time.

Reply Score: 2

RE: My phone number
by WereCatf on Thu 20th Feb 2014 15:06 UTC in reply to "My phone number"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Does it mean my resistance to give my phone # to facebook was in vain because they got it through WhatsApp?


Yes. Then again, if any of your friends are using Facebook on their mobiles and have your phone number stored in their contacts Facebook's already got it and most likely have been able to link your profile to it ages ago.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: My phone number
by pysiak on Thu 20th Feb 2014 16:00 UTC in reply to "RE: My phone number"
pysiak Member since:
2008-01-01

"Does it mean my resistance to give my phone # to facebook was in vain because they got it through WhatsApp?
Yes. Then again, if any of your friends are using Facebook on their mobiles and have your phone number stored in their contacts Facebook's already got it and most likely have been able to link your profile to it ages ago. "
Phew! What a relief ? :-)

Reply Score: 2

Alternative
by Heard on Thu 20th Feb 2014 11:14 UTC
Heard
Member since:
2009-12-24

In most german media reporting on Facebook acquiring WhatsApp there is an app called "Threema" mentioned as a more secure alternative. Looks nice to me. I hope it will get more famous.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Alternative
by Deviate_X on Thu 20th Feb 2014 13:51 UTC in reply to "Alternative"
Deviate_X Member since:
2005-07-11

That's nice, but the point is that WhatsApp is that its aggressively available on a vast array of platforms, not just iOS and Android. Where most app developers have been taught the world begins and ends.

Reply Score: 2

$19B for a 55 employee Company
by dindin on Thu 20th Feb 2014 14:29 UTC
dindin
Member since:
2006-03-29

They said $13B for Motorola was too much.

What exactly does What'sApp have that's so unique that its worth $340M+ per employee - not that most of the employee will see any of that - maybe a small bonus.

Reply Score: 4

RE: $19B for a 55 employee Company
by WereCatf on Thu 20th Feb 2014 15:08 UTC in reply to "$19B for a 55 employee Company"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

What exactly does What'sApp have that's so unique that its worth $340M+ per employee


Contacts, relations between them, messages and metadata.

Reply Score: 2

RE: $19B for a 55 employee Company
by Nelson on Thu 20th Feb 2014 16:35 UTC in reply to "$19B for a 55 employee Company"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

They have 450M active users and its growing at triple digit rates. WhatsApp has 1M new users daily and sends 19B messages a day.

With some clever partnerships, they could land themselves a full blown SMS replacement.

Edited 2014-02-20 16:48 UTC

Reply Score: 4

xranby
Member since:
2011-10-26

Facebook buy WhatsApp and then file dmca takedown notices to free software implementations at github. - not cool

https://raw.github.com/github/dmca/master/2014-02-12-WhatsApp.md

Reply Score: 5

WhatsApp replacement
by Firedragon852 on Thu 20th Feb 2014 23:38 UTC
Firedragon852
Member since:
2007-03-17

In this part of the world, people use WeChat.

Reply Score: 1