The best messaging and social apps of 2014

One of the most highly contested categories in our Best apps of 2014 series was best messaging app. Gathering 8 editors to round out our top 5 picks, we looked at criteria including innovation, functionality, design, everyday use, and multi-platform integration. Which one fit this criteria perfectly? Tinder.

Read on to find out why, and check out our other finalists for the best messaging app of 2014.

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Tinder

Logo Tinder

In 2014, Tinder was everywhere. Launched in 2012, the dating app really took off internationally this year, easily making it the best messaging app of 2014.

There’s more to Tinder than just the hype though. It comes with a sleek design, and is very easy to use; swiping left or right to discard or accept (respectively) a profile has become somewhat of a social phenomenon. Being able to quickly meet people without the usual pressure that dating brings appears to be quite thrilling for single people everywhere.

Looking at all the clones that popped up during the year–none of which have been able to dethrone Tinder– shows just how much the app completely revolutionized the way people see online dating in 2014.

Download Tinder for AndroidiOS |Windows Phone (unofficial client)

WhatsApp

Logo WhatsAppWhatsApp was almost impossible to avoid in 2014. Early in the year, it made headlines when it was purchased by Facebook for a whopping $19 billion, literally showing how valuable the messaging app is. It also caused lots of recent drama with its inclusion of read receipts, a new feature that angered many users.

Despite all the drama, it remains the top mobile messaging app in the world, and in an attempt to remain on top, announced a few new features this year including VOIP calls and message encryption for Android devices (coming soon to iOS).

Download WhatsApp for AndroidBlackBerryiPhoneWindows Phone

Telegram

Logo TelegramAfter the purchase of WhatsApp by Facebook, some users were afraid of the safety of their data now under Facebook’s control. As a result, people started looking elsewhere, and Telegram emerged as a serious and secure alternative.

WhatsApp has since revised its service, implementing end to end message encryption, but some people over at Telegram claim that WhatsApp not so subtly uses their ideas for ‘inspiration’ about upcoming features, showing just how innovative Telegram can be.

Fortunately for Telegram, it does have a few additional tricks up its sleeve, notably, its multi-platform availability, especially on desktop.

Download Telegram for AndroidiOSMacWindowsWindows Phone |Linux |Web

Facebook Messenger

Logo Facebook MessengerHated by some, loved by others; this pretty much sums up Facebook  Messenger’s year. Why all the controversy? This year, Facebook decided to force its mobile users to install a standalone app to use Messenger on mobile, instead of letting them chat through the native Facebook App.

Android users were plagued with privacy concerns, and eventually, Facebook went back on it’s word and started bringing back Messenger in it’s native Android app. It doesn’t say much for Messenger, but it does show just how important the service is to users.

Download Facebook Messenger for AndroidBlackBerryiPhone | Windows 8.1Windows Phone

Google Hangouts

Logo Hangouts

If we’re only considering the quality and variety of messaging options available in a single app, Google Hangouts probably would have come out on top. It’s arguably one of the best VoIP calling services in the world, thanks to the power of Google’s servers.

In 2014, Google managed to simplify its range of mobile apps and services. Whereas before, there was Google Talk and Google Voice (among others), the majority of these services are now grouped under Hangouts for a very powerful messaging tool.

Download Google Hangouts Android | iOSChrome plugin

All about swiping

It looks like the novelty of Tinder, a new way to meet people online, trumped some of the more traditional messaging services we’ve come to know and love. Still, that doesn’t mean that they’ve stopped trying to add new features to entice users.

What can we expect next year? Well, as Tinder’s novelty slowly starts wearing off, expect to see more online dating apps with a bit more depth than a superficial swipe.

Check out the rest of the best apps of the year in our Best apps of 2014 series.

Follow me on Twitter: @bbrassart

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