20 Jan 2021  notes

Signal vs. Telegram

I have some contacts that use Signal, and others Telegram, and so I end up using both apps on a day to day basis.

Signal is secure by default yes, but their UX/UI is very lacking outside of “basic” communication, which ends up being the use case for me.

Messaging that’s media-heavy or involving stickers, GIFs, multi-accounts, links (Instant View is amazing), or file sharing is better achieved in Telegram, in my experience.

In some ways they both support different security postures, with Telegram being more flexible with opt-in E2E so the user can take advantage of the cloud features, while Signal foregoes these bells and whistles for a most-secure-by-default approach.

It seems to me thats it could be interpreted as a choice vs. opinion, but I wouldn’t go that far.

For me, Telegram is akin to org-mode; the Saved Messages personal cloud is where I store all my links and files that I need to share between my desktop and mobile devices, and I make use of private group chats to further aggregate links and ideas, not to mention where bots for things like Integromat, IFTTT, UpDown.io, etc. provide me with information. Telegram’s native applications really make a difference here, they are a cut above the rest compared to today’s messaging offerings, in my opinion.

Hence my messaging and contents to some extent is governed by which app I use, but I don’t ask my Signal contacts to use Telegram because if we’re both chatting on Signal, we know why. Vice-versa, I don’t ask Telegram contacts to use Signal because in general those chats are with my SO and friends who need overall security that’s feature-rich but not bulletproof 24/7.

That being said, I do have a feeling however that when users experience both apps they’ll make a decision to use them based on UX/UI more than anything else (skewing towards security or features as they personally see fit).

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