Although there are many cloud services for playing video games, Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now are the two most popular at the moment and promise to revolutionize the way we play video games, eliminating the need to buy powerful hardware or even download games. And in this article, we are going to compare these two services.
What is Cloud Gaming or game in the cloud?
Video game streaming services consist of running a video game on remote hardware (quite powerful) and this server sends us the video image shown on the screen.
That means we don’t need a next-generation console or a powerful PC to play games. We only need a device with a screen and an Internet connection. Easy to set up, easy to play, nothing to worry about (except maybe the internet connection).
Advantages of Cloud Gaming or video game streaming:
- There is no need for a powerful computer
- Play wherever you want (computer, phone, tablet, TV …)
- No need to download, install or update a game
- No need to worry about physical storage
Disadvantages of Cloud Gaming or video game streaming:
- You need a very good internet connection
- Unable to play offline
- There is a greater delay or latency than playing on a local PC
- It does not reach the graphic quality of the most powerful computers
- There may be graphic artefacts due to video codecs
Latency is one of the biggest pain points in video game streaming services. This is the biggest difference between streaming a video (like Netflix) and streaming a video game. When you watch a video, you don’t really care about the latency between your home and the Netflix server, because you don’t have any live interaction with the video itself. This is something totally different in a video game.
Input lag is the sum of all latencies behind the game: controller latency, processing latency, screen latency, and of course for cloud games, network latency is one of the most important parts.
For example, if you hit “jump” on the keyboard and you have to wait for a second to see it on the screen, it is totally impossible to play. You also have to take into account that this latency will bother more or less depending on the video game you are playing. Lag may not be as important in a platform game as in a shooter.
Although Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now are cloud gaming services, they work quite differently when it comes to video games.
Stadia is a platform, digital store, and cloud gaming service all rolled into one. This means that we can only play games on Stadia that we have purchased on Stadia’s own platform:
- Games purchased outside of Stadia cannot be played on Stadia
- Games purchased on Stadia cannot be played outside of Stadia. You will not be able to play them by running them on your PC, for example
To make matters worse, the game catalogue on Stadia is quite limited at the moment and we can only choose from a few dozen games. The price of new games is also usually high. Old games can have a good discount, although it is always usually less than on other platforms like Steam.
Nvidia’s GeForce Now service is more like a virtual PC, with some restrictions. And it is that from GeForce Now you can play the games that you have bought in the online stores of Steam, Epic Store, Uplay and more.
This is a great advantage and means that practically all the games that we have already bought will be compatible with GeForce Now and if you unsubscribe from GeForce Now you will be able to continue playing them on your PC without problems.
Of course, it must be taken into account that some companies, such as Activision-Blizzard, Bethesda and 2K Games, have taken their games from GeForce Now so they can no longer be played from the platform.
Featured GeForce Now Games:
- Assassin Creed 3, Black Flag, Unity, Origin, Odyssey
- Kingdom come deliverance
- Sonic Forces, Mania, Team Sonic Racing
- Trails Of Cold Steel
- Darksiders 1, 2 and 3
- The Surge 1 and 2
- Dead Or Alive 6
- Destiny 2
- Division 2
- Ghost recon
- Rainbow six siege
- Batman Origin, Asylum, City, Arkham Knight
- Batman Lego 1, 2 and 3
- Lego movie
- THE EX
- Dark Souls 1, 2 and 3
- A Plague Tale
- Yazuka 0, Kawami
- DIRT 4
- Shenmue 1, 2 and 3
- Mount and blade 2
- League of Legends
- Edge Of Eternity
- World war z
- Guild Wars 2
- Vermintide 1 and 2
- Star wars battlefront
- CREW 2
- The Walking Dead Series
- Half-life 1 and 2
- ANNO 1800
- Euro Truck Simulator 2
- Metro Exodus
- Rocket league
- Tekken 7
- EVE Online
- Saints row
- Far Cry 4, 5, Primal and New Dawn
- Mortal Kombat 11, X
- Counter strike
- Wolfenstein YoungBlood
List of featured games on Google Stadia:
- DOOM ETERNAL
- Tomb Raider 1, 2 and 3
- Serious Sam
- Crew 2
- Division 2
- Borderlands 3
- Dragon ball Z Xenoverse
- Wolfenstein YoungBlood
- Red Dead Redemption
- Mortal Kombat 11
- Metro Exodus
- Final Fantasy 15
- Destiny 2
- Darksiders genesis
- Assassin’s Crees Odyssey
Winner: The Nvidia GeForce Now service is the clear winner. Support more games, and you can enjoy the compatible games you already have.
Price and availability
Although both services are based on subscription models, they have important differences.
The GeForce Now platform is available in two ways. On the one hand, there is a free program that allows us to enjoy sessions of one hour of play at 1,080p60 resolution. Once we have passed the game time, we can go out, go back in and play another hour, and so on as many times as we want.
In addition to that, we have the GeForce Now Founders subscription service that allows us to enjoy gaming sessions at the highest possible quality 1080p60 and with ray tracing activated. The price is 4.99 euros per month or 27 euros for 6 months, depending on the current offer. Even so, quite regularly there are also 12-month offers at very cheap prices.
On the other hand, in Google Stadia we can play the games that we have bought within the platform for free and up to 1080p. However, if we want to play at 4K and HDR we will have to pay for the Stadia Pro subscription that costs about 10 euros per month. Besides that, the Pro plan provides access to a number of games that the platform offers for its users. GeForce NOW offers about 70 games to play for free.
Winner: Nvidia GeForce Now is much cheaper
Connection and latency
GeForce Now requires a minimum connection of 15 Mbps for 720p resolution at 60 frames per second and 25 Mbps for 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second. Of course, it is recommended to use an Ethernet cable connection with the router or to have Wi-Fi at 5 GHz. At the moment you cannot play at 4K HDR, something that can be done on Google Stadia, although it is expected that it will arrive this year.
In terms of lag, Nvidia has a total of 19 data centres: nine data centres in North America, six in Western Europe, two in Russia, one in Japan, and one in South Korea. If you have good access to these servers, you will have a contained latency and you can easily play any title.
|Google Stadia||GeForce Now|
|720p 60fps||10 Mbps||15 Mbps|
|1080p 60fps||20 Mbps||25 Mbps|
|4K 60fps||35 Mbps||Not available|
|Settings||Better quality, balanced, |
limited data usage
The recommended connection speed for Google Stadia is 10 for playing at 720p and 60 fps, and 35 Mbps to play at 4K and 60 fps.
Regarding lag, Google Stadia has a very important advantage and that is that developers need to optimize the game for Stadia and make sure everything works perfectly on the platform. To do this, Stadia has tools that allow developers to see how the game works in each condition and improve the gaming experience:
- The games run on Linux servers and are specifically developed to run on Stadia. When a game starts, you get a Linux instance with the updated game image already available on it
- The data centre number of Google Stadia is not known, but Google has more than 7,500 nodes around the world already used to store content for other services like YouTube or Google Play. These locations could also be used for Google Stadia, each player using the closest data centre to minimize latency.
- Also, the Stadia controller goes over Wi-Fi (instead of Bluetooth) and the signal is sent directly from the router to the servers (further minimizing ping)
Winner: In this regard, Google Stadia consistently offers lower latency, although the difference is not decisive either. In both cases, playing with the controller the lag is barely noticeable, but it is noticeable when we use a mouse and keyboard.
One of the most important points of any video game is the graphics. Without going into pointless comparisons of teraFLOPS and such, both GeForce Now and Google Stadia offer high-quality graphics, but they fall short of ultra quality. Depending on the game, you would need a mid-range or mid-high-range computer to achieve similar performance, something that would cost you a good peak.
Stadia uses Linux servers with games ported to Google’s infrastructure, while GeForce Now simply functions as a powerful computer in the cloud.
The Google Stadia subscription allows us to play at 4K and 60fps, but we will not be able to increase the graphics to the maximum. That said, only a handful of games currently support true 4K on Stadia, and many of them are limited to 4K 30fps. Some of them are simply rescaled.
With the GeForce Now subscription, we can increase the quality of the graphics and we can also play with RTX and ray tracing, something that greatly improves the graphics in some games.
Winner: Google’s decision to leave the portability and optimization of their own games to developers has brought Stadia’s graphics quality closer to consoles than computers. GeForce Now with RTX enabled has the potential for better graphics, however in my tests, GeForce Now sometimes delivers very good graphics and sometimes not so (artifacts, etc.). Google Stadia always works just as well. For me, Google Stadia wins.
Nvidia GeForce Now is designed to stream your PC game library and is compatible with PCs, Macs, Nvidia Shield devices, and most Android phones. You just have to download the appropriate application for your device and that’s it. It can also be played on iOS through the Safari browser.
Google Stadia is accessible from the Google Chrome web browser, Google Chromecast Ultra, and Android and iOS mobile phones and tablets.
Winner: a few months ago the winner would be Nvidia GeForce Now because it supported more phones. But right now I think Stadia wins by being compatible with a multitude of mobile devices and computers with Windows, macOS and Linux.
Google Stadia has a special controller that connects directly to the Wi-Fi router. In this way, we skip the Bluetooth connection to the device (mobile, computer, etc.), reducing latency. Furthermore, Stadia is also compatible with DualShock 4 controllers, Xbox One, etc., as well as mouse and keyboard configurations.
However, Google Stadia support is confusing. The controllers work differently with different Stadia-compatible devices. The most obvious example is Google’s Chromecast Ultra, which only works with Google’s Stadia controller. Also, there is a problem with the
Another problem I have with the Google Stadia remote is that in the Wi-Fi password we can only have numbers and letters, not special characters. If we have an apostrophe or similar, the connection will fail … It is something quite absurd and that Google says it has been looking at it for almost a year, but they have not fixed it yet.
Nvidia GeForce Now supports mouse and keyboard configurations and most Bluetooth drivers. For the most part, you can expect any PC-compatible controller to work with GeForce Now as well.
Winner: The Google Stadia controller is better because it reduces latency, but Nvidia GeForce Now supports more controllers on a wider variety of devices.
It cannot be said that neither service is the clear winner:
GeForce Now is much cheaper. Supports more games. And you can immediately play games you already own without having to buy them again. You can even try it for free.
Google Stadia supports 4K and HDR, the system has less latency and the experience from my point of view is more comfortable. Everything works better, games start earlier, have fewer glitches, etc. The GeForce Now servers appear to be overloaded. Obviously, they don’t have the same infrastructure as Google.
Another important point of GeForce Now is the problem of the developers. Activision Blizzard, Bethesda, 2k Games pulled their games off the platform, leaving many users stranded. Some of them bought the games on Steam to play on GeForce Now, but they can’t play them anymore because they don’t have powerful computers.
The truth is that GeForce Now (GFN) and Stadia have totally different models:
- GeForce Now charges to access your hardware
- Stadia is a platform that wants to tie you down (hardware and software)
Both platforms have their advantages and disadvantages and from my point of view I prefer GeForce Now because it gives me the possibility to play on my gaming computer or on another device if I am not at home, but it does not tie me to always use GFN.
However, I have to admit that yes, I have a game on GeForce Now and Stadia, I prefer to use Stadia because I think it works better: less lag and better graphics in general. Also, when it comes to the user experience when opening the service and starting a game, Google Stadia is way ahead of GeForce Now. Using the Stadia mobile app or the Chrome browser, you can open the platform and start playing in seconds.
On the other hand, with GeForce Now you have to open the application on the phone or on the computer, find the game you want to play, log in to Steam (or wherever the game is from) which is not always easy with the controller, wait to load (or sometimes install), and then you can play.
All these extra steps make GFN feel more like a provisional or beta… than a truly revolutionary platform. It’s probably the best virtual PC-based cloud gaming solution available today, but it will always be limited by design. For better or for worse, it is simply a PC in the cloud.
I believe that all video game streaming systems still need to improve in graphic quality and, above all, reduce the graphic artifacts that annoy so much, but with the arrival of new video codecs and the current low latency, I think Cloud Gaming could become a reality.
And finally, Stadia, with all its flaws, delivers on the promise of instant access and I think it can be a real alternative to consoles and, perhaps, gaming computers.
The Best Basic Cell Phones 2021
If you are new to the world of smartphones or just want to see more clearly the offers that are available to you, then this article should help you find the phone that will meet your needs.
Smartphones are incredibly popular devices, but their immense capacity has made them more and more complex for novices. What may seem like second nature to young people can be incredibly confusing for a generation that grew up before the advent of the internet.
Basic Cell Phone Buying Guide
Before any purchase, it is important to identify your daily needs, since an entry-level smartphone may be right for you.
Even if some models integrate a GPS or a camera, the majority of basic cell phones are only used to send SMS and make calls. Note that their processor is quite slow (from 1 to 1.2 GHz) and that they do not have a touch screen.
Their storage capacities are limited, however, most of these phones give you the option of adding a microSD card.
In terms of connectivity, entry-level smartphones support 3G and Wi-Fi while basic cell phones are only compatible with 2G.
If you like video calls and selfies, go your way as there is no front camera, and the image quality (480 x 800 pixel) is much lower than that of smartphones.
Finally, note that, very often, basic cell phones are sold with a blocked plan, or with a prepaid card.
Nokia 5310 – The best in everything
The Nokia 5310 is a great basic phone for everyday use. We love its classic design taken from its ancestor, as well as its discreet and effective color combination (our model is black/red).
Its color screen (2.4 inches), non-touch, displays text and icons very clearly, and its keyboard is very pleasant to use.
To continue in the positive, it can accommodate 2 mini-SIM cards if you wish, and a microSD (32 GB max). Small note: gently open the back, the plastic of which seems a little too fragile …
Its removable battery is, unsurprisingly, an incredible autonomy, after 2 weeks of simple use and in standby, it still has not fallen flat. So don’t hesitate to make many calls, listen to the FM band, or even endlessly play the snake game!
Nokia 2720 Flip – The most versatile
The Nokia 2720 Flip is one of the most popular Nokia phones, bringing the iconic flip phone up to date.
It has a fairly modern set of functions; 4G is supported, as well as some basic apps, which means you can still use Google Maps, Twitter, Facebook as well as WhatsApp. It even includes an application for the Google Assistant, with a dedicated button to activate it. Nokia indicates an autonomy of 28 days, enough to convince you a little more.
You also benefit from Bluetooth, a headphone jack, a camera, and an internal storage capacity of 4 GB with support for microSD cards up to 32 GB.
Nokia 8810 – Best Design
Nokia’s new 8810 is also known as the “Matrix Banana Phone” for its slightly curved shape and its use by the character Neo in the movie The Matrix.
Its design is a little unusual since it has a 2.4-inch color screen, occupying the upper half of the device, and a keyboard protected by a slider (sliding flap).
To complete its image, there is even a banana yellow model and if you prefer the Matrix side, then opt for its black version.
The 8810 is compatible with 4G and its storage space, unfortunately, does not exceed 4 GB, but it is expandable up to 32 GB via a microSD card.
What are its main strengths? Its dual SIM location, its 25-day standby time, the ability to synchronize contacts, Gmail / Outlook calendars, and create a hotspot via its 4G LTE connection.
TTfone Lunar TT750 – For big hits
The TTFone Lunar TT750 might not be the first basic phone that comes to mind, but the company has made a name for itself in recent years with inexpensive products primarily aimed at older people.
For better viewing, large characters are used on its keyboard and its screen has a clear and bright display. It is also equipped with powerful speakers so you won’t miss any messages or calls.
In addition, TTfone installed an SOS emergency button for him.
Thanks to its clamshell design, the TT750’s keypad is protected and numbers cannot be dialed by accident.
Note that the Lunar comes with a docking station that also allows it to be recharged.
Nokia 3310 – For the nostalgic
Notice to those nostalgic for the early 2000s, the Nokia 3310 is back! Its 2017 version is not perfect but we still love it as much.
The Nokia 3310 has a 2.4-inch screen and a fairly large physical keyboard. As for storage, you get 16MB, expandable by microSD up to 32GB.
The strong point of this model is its battery. The phone has a battery life of one month, which will allow you to play the legendary game of the Snake for long hours.
However, we regret that it does not have a Wi-Fi connection and that it is not compatible with micro-SIM cards.
Nokia 105 – The Most Affordable
If you are looking for a very simple phone for just texting, making, and receiving calls, then your best option is the Nokia 105. Its 1.8-inch screen is large and bright enough and its island-style keyboard (separate keys) makes it easy to dial and enter text.
On the storage side, it has little to offer, only 4MB, which is just enough for your directory.
Doro 8035 – The best smartphone
Doro has found the right balance with the 8035 since it offers an Android smartphone experience to which has been added usage tips. It is very easy to set up, with on-screen prompts and instructions. Once you’ve set up all of your existing email accounts and added contacts, it’s easy to navigate your way around making calls, texting, and even downloading apps.
Moto G8 – The most complete Android
Like the Doro 8035, the Moto G8 runs Android and is very easy to use. The G8 is for you if you don’t need to be guided to make calls, send messages, or download apps. Its highlight is its large 6.4-inch display, and its fast-charging 4000mAh battery is the icing on the cake.
Alcatel 2019G – The easiest to use
Alcatel has gone for a very traditional design for its 2019G phone. A smaller screen gives way to a large keypad. It supports older T9 SMS, but we believe it is more suitable for a user who prefers to make calls. It also includes an SOS button, a 3.2 Mp rear photosensor, for photos and videos.
The 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2021
2020 has been a difficult year, needing more than one round-up. In terms of awaited games, however, he closed a lot of topics that had been hanging over us for years: Cyberpunk 2077, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Ghost of Tsushima and The Last of Us Part II, finally fell into our hands. In this way, several of the largest studios have completed their long-term projects, and thus it will be years for more to go on sale. In 2020, the production cycles were disrupted and the largest fairs did not take place, which will certainly affect the premieres of 2021 … but we have something to wait for anyway. Maybe the list below is not your typical top-notch set (this year’s style) for a wide audience, but you can count on it. There are still many, many announcements ahead of us and many premieres, we are also not sure (see Diablo 4 or Breath of the Wild 2) – we did not add the unconfirmed ones to the list. So if the sky doesn’t fall on our heads, we will definitely play 21 ‘in great-looking titles. Here are the most anticipated games of 2021:
If shooting and dark, occult, fantasy is the right combination for you, then you know it will be the game for you. Graven draws on the somewhat forgotten heritage of Hexen and Hexen II, games that once built a cult around each other. In its modern version, it will be a title full of action and a dense atmosphere that allows you to combine many spells and use them in the environment (a bit like Bioshock or Dishonored ). What’s even better – the game can be played in cooperation with up to four people. Though from the beginning Gravenhas the features of production for a narrow group of players and a silent hit, it must not be denied a place in such combinations. You can see that it is a product made with great care, stylized for productions from 20 years ago. If only all the bricks fit together and the climate will deliver, it will be difficult to expect anything more.
- Platforms: PC, Switch, PS4, XOne, Xbox Series, PS5
9. Kena: Bridge of Spirits
The games take an ever greater twist towards fairy-tale climates, archery and jumping – which is eminently good news. Kena: Bridge of Spirits is one of the most interesting representatives of this trend. At first glance, you can feel the mix of The Legend of Korra, Ghibli anime and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. And if you have such inspirations and are able to present them in a convincing way, the chances of success increase significantly. After what we have already seen, we should expect such success. A beautiful setting and a world filled with forest spirits strike the warm strings of our hearts each time. And we will definitely need such titles.
- Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5
8. Ghostwire: Tokyo
The Tango Gameworks studio, responsible for the very good two parts of Evil Within, takes us to a depopulated, contemporary Tokyo overrun by ghosts. However, it will not be a typical horror movie for them, but a modern neon macabre. A sight from the eyes, lots of action, casting spells, unusual atmosphere and a quality badge of Shinji Mikami (the creator of Resident Evil ) – it must be successful. We can count on everything here, although the first fragments of the game suggest even crazier Far Cry, created with Japanese elegance and a love of magic symbols. Ghostwire: Tokyo must not be missed. A mix of modernity, madness and demonology.
- Platforms: PC, PS5
Sony knows that the strength of PlayStation is exclusive games – Returnal will be one of those less loud, but very important exclusives. A beautiful, dynamic shooter will show us the story of a cosmonaut who fell into a time loop. We will continue to experience crashing into an unknown planet – our weapons and skills related to dynamic dodging will open the way to discover its secrets. Discovering mysterious technology, fighting the unknown and having a great pace should make Housemarque one of the first games worth taking the PS5 under its roof. The creators of such productions, Resogun and Nex Machina, are also a guarantee of a good dexterity threshing.
- Platforms: PS5
6. Monster Hunter: Rise
The best-selling game in Capcom history? Monster Hunter: World. Not Street Fighter, not Resident Evil or Mega Man, but the last MonHun. It is no wonder then that the company wants to forge iron and 2021 will bring the next instalment of the series, which is starting to gain recognition in Western markets (in Japan it was a phenomenon from the beginning). The version with the subtitle Riseis to generate another million on the account of the blue and yellow corporation by appearing on the Nintendo machine printing money – Switch. The combination of the popularity of this console and the series will have a huge impact in the industry, it’s hard to doubt it. And Monster Hunter, like this Monster Hunter, will once again provide us with hundreds of hours of content tucked behind a seemingly simple recipe for monster hunting. It seems so simple, and only this cycle can generate such numbers. Colossus, a game where you can spend hundreds of hours alone, let alone online.
- Platforms: Switch
5. Gotham Knights
The type is a bit exaggerated, but it is worth raising the bar for such titles. If Avenger’s by Crystal Dynamics turned out to be such a mishap, maybe the title in the DC universe will be able to learn from their mistakes? Gotham Knights primarily focus on solo fun (or with one co-op partner) with the Knight of Gotham of our choice. We will fight the crime that begins to spread through the city after Batman’s death. We get an open, dynamically changing world, RPG elements and heroes known from comics, who can finally shine in their own game. Hoping for something good, missing the Arkham franchise.
- Platforms: PC, PS4, XOne, Xbox Series, PS5
4. Back 4 Blood
It is difficult to explain why Left 4 Dead 3 has not yet been created (except that Valve cannot count to three). The void after this title will be filled by Back 4 Blood created by people who were responsible for Evolve and … two versions of L4D. Could cooperative zombie shooting still be a hot topic and a game worth waiting for? Certainly yes. A well-planned repulsion of the horde and an exciting campaign will always defend itself when we have three friends on the phone. And now, when no one has dealt with a similar topic in this way (except Call of Duty ) for years, it will definitely be a production that deserves our attention. I can already see those hundreds of hours on the meter and the millions of dead people shot out.
- Platforms: PC, PS4, XOne, Xbox Series, PS5
3. Halo Infinite
Despite huge purchases, Halo is still Microsoft’s most important brand. If the company really wants to push the Xbox to the leading position and seriously fight Sony, Halo Infinite must be successful. The first shows made a meme of this game, but it is still to be hoped that it will all be fixed. Postponing the premiere to the fourth quarter of 2021 should not only improve the appearance of the whole but also expand it as needed. The fight must be evocative, the grounds extensive, the weapons balanced, and the multiplayer modes to satisfy all fan wishes. The stakes are huge and 343 Industries will be able to cope with it.
- Platforms: PC, XOne, Xbox Series
2. Hogwarts Legacy
19th century Hogwarts is counting on you, young wizard. We waited far too long for such an RPG. JK Rowling’s fantastic, timeless vision will finally be able to come true in the world of digital magic. The creation and development of characters and contact with dark forces will fuel this story full of moral turmoil. It will be an absolute school fantasy – as long as the creators reach the right level with their scenario and systems for creating potions and summoning spells. We’ll see you at platforms 9 and 3/4 in a few months, attendance is mandatory. Hogwarts Legacy should eventually do what should have been done long ago.
- Platforms: PC, PS4, XOne, Xbox Series, PS5
1. Resident Evil Village
It is used to say (and sing) that diamonds are forever – such a diamond in the gaming world is definitely Resident Evil. How many times has the series changed, set trends and turned into totally non-obvious directions? Therefore, the eyes of the entire industry will be on the Village. It will be survival in the world of FPP again, but it promises to be delicious! More emphasis on occult themes and probably the largest scale of activities to date should bring back memories of the iconic Resident Evil 4. It will be darker and scarier than usual, and Capcom will magically weave into it all great gameplay and tons of adrenaline-pumping action. Resident Evil VIIIit will be a great title that can change everything again. In addition, in 2021 it has relatively little competition, so it will sound even louder. Certainty.
- Platforms: PC, Xbox Series, PS5
Compare: WhatsApp vs Telegram vs Signal
Currently, WhatsApp is the instant messaging service with the most users in the world, it has more than 2,000 million monthly active users. Telegram has about 500 million users and Signal has approximately 20 million active users.
If we stick to the figures, it is clear that WhatsApp is the most popular app and will be installed on almost all the mobile phones of our contacts and friends. Telegram is quite popular, but it still has a lot to recover so that we can uninstall WhatsApp from our phone. And Signal is nothing more than a baby next to these two monsters.
However, on January 7, 2021, Elon Musk posted a tweet encouraging people to use Signal and the subsequent surge in users caused the app’s phone number verification system to temporarily crash. A few days later, Signal was among the most downloaded apps on the App Store.
WhatsApp has new terms and conditions of service that all users must accept before February 8 to continue using the application; and that, if you do not accept it, your account will be deleted.
Security and encryption
The first thing we are going to analyze is the security of the applications since it is one of the most controversial characteristics.
In the past, WhatsApp had no encryption, but since 2016 the application uses end-to-end encryption in each and every one of the communication modes that the app has. This means that all your messages, video calls, voice calls, photos, and anything else you share will be sent encrypted and only you and the recipient can see the information. WhatsApp cannot even, even if it wanted to, decrypt the content of messages, calls, photos, etc., thus guaranteeing your security and privacy.
WhatsApp uses the E2E protocol developed by Open Whisper Systems, which is the name behind Signal Messenger. This is good, because the Signal protocol is open source, widely reviewed by analysts, and is considered one of the best protocols for implementing end-to-end encryption on messaging platforms.
It should also be noted that, although all its communication on WhatsApp uses E2E encryption, the company does not encrypt the backups (in the cloud and local) and does not encrypt the metadata used to achieve communication between two endpoints. This is one of the main criticisms of the WhatsApp security model. In the metadata, you can know who and when has sent a message to someone, and for how long.
In addition to that, WhatsApp offers biometric locking for both Android and iOS and supports two-step authentication (2FA).
In general, WhatsApp does a good job of ensuring the safety of its users, although it has had significant problems such as indexing in Google search of links in group chats or the multiple accusations that the company has broken encryption to create back doors for government agencies.
Telegram has a lot of lights and shadows when it comes to security. For starters, although Telegram supports end-to-end (E2E) encryption, it is not used throughout the application, only in secret chats and calls.
The downside is that normal chats don’t have E2E encryption. This means that the messages are encrypted on your device and then decrypted on the Telegram server. The messages are encrypted again on the server and sent to the recipient’s device for final decryption. As you can see, in this process, Telegram has the encryption keys on the server-side and can, in theory, access your normal chats.
Also, the Telegram desktop client does not support E2E encryption on any platform other than MacOS.
Telegram has always claimed that it protects the privacy of users and that it will never violate their trust. Additionally, it protects your encryption keys very strictly and court orders from multiple legal systems around the world would be required to access any of your data. In fact, the company says it has shared 0 bytes of data with third parties and governments to date.
Another opaque point in Telegram security is that it uses its own proprietary encryption protocol, MTProto, to encrypt your messages. The protocol seems robust and no one has been able to break it, even with substantial rewards in between. However, it is a closed source protocol and cannot be verified by security researchers. Therefore, security researchers believe that using a widely trusted and open-source protocol, such as the Signal protocol, would have been better than using a proprietary closed source encryption protocol such as Telegrams.
As for apps, Telegram, like WhatsApp, also offers app locks.
Signal has always stood out for its level of security and is by far the best service in this regard. Both on the server-side and on the user side. In fact, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange have recommended Signal numerous times.
As I already mentioned, Signal uses the open-source Signal Protocol, also known as TextSecure Protocol, to implement end-to-end encryption. And, like WhatsApp, E2E encryption covers all forms of Signal communication. ref
Recently the company Cellebrite reported that it had found a security flaw in the Signal protocol, however, it has been discredited by Signal and they have claimed that Cellebrite only wanted headlines; a clickbait.
The good news is that, while WhatsApp encrypts messages and calls, Signal goes a step further and encrypts metadata as well. The system is called Sealed Sender (sealed sender) and allows to protect the privacy of the user as much as possible since nobody, not even Signal, knows who is communicating with whom. ref
Of course, Signal has an in-app lock key, 2FA authentication, and an option to lock in-app screenshots and recent apps. Signal also encrypts all local files and you can create an encrypted local backup. Other exciting new features are encrypted group calls and a feature that allows faces to automatically blur before sending images.
Owners and monetization
Next, we will see who owns each service and how they intend to monetize them.
WhatsApp was bought in 2014 by Facebook, which spent about $ 19 billion for it. At first, Facebook stayed a bit on the sidelines and let the company go its way, however, little by little Facebook has been positioning itself in a more intrusive way in its evolution.
Most downloaded apps
There are also many rumors that advertising can directly reach WhatsApp. That gives Facebook an even bigger incentive to monetize your WhatsApp data. Additionally, since WhatsApp does not encrypt the metadata, Facebook can easily use it to track user behavior.
Unfortunately, we are talking about Facebook and I do not think it is necessary to point out the unwillingness, as has been demonstrated many times, of Facebook to protect user data or to offer any kind of privacy protection.
Telegram was launched in 2013 by Nikolai Durov and his younger brother, Pavel Durov. They are both Russians but live in exile. Pavel Durov was fired as CEO of VK (the Russian Facebook) for refusing to hand over the data of the Ukrainian protesters to the Russian security agencies.
Apart from that, Pavel Durov has positioned himself on many occasions in favor of protecting the privacy of users and against censorship. For that reason, Telegram is banned in both Russia and Iran.
At the moment, Telegram has been financed solely through Pavel Durov money, but since that model is not sustainable forever, Telegram recently announced that it will begin to offer extra functions at a cost to companies and in this way achieve stable self-financing.
Signal is owned by the nonprofit Signal Foundation, led by computer security experts Moxie Marlinspike and Brian Acton. Moxie Marlinspike ran Open Whisper Systems, the company that gave birth to the Signal encryption protocol. After meeting Brian Acton in 2018, they formed a new alliance called the Signal Foundation.
Notably, Brian Acton was the co-founder of WhatsApp. However, he left the company 3 years after Facebook acquired it. Now, he oversees the development of Signal which is funded by donations and grants.
As we have seen before, Signal is recommended by many of the IT security experts like Edward Snowden or Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter.
Features and Functions
Everyone knows the functions that WhatsApp has, but we are going to review them.
WhatsApp has group chats of up to 256 members
We can send messages to several contacts at the same time
You have a voice and video calls. Group video calls are restricted to 8 simultaneous users
WhatsApp has the Status or Stories function, something that neither Telegram nor Signal has
We can share photos, videos, and audio files with a maximum size of 16 MB, however, documents can be up to 100 MB
Real location can be shared with your contacts
WhatsApp chats can be backed up using Google Drive and iCloud
Secret chats with self-destruct messages
Group chats with a capacity of up to 200,000 members
Bots, polls, contests, hashtags
Editing and deleting sent messages
Uncompressed photos and videos can be sent, in addition, storage is unlimited and the maximum file size is 2 GB
We can use Telegram from several devices simultaneously (multi-device)
Calls and video calls
Chat with yourself to point or save things
Although Signal beats Telegram and WhatsApp in terms of security, it does not have as many functions:
Voice and video calls
Groups and group calls
Ability to send a viewable image only once
Chat with yourself to point or save things
Signal allows to relay voice calls to its servers so that your identity remains hidden (something similar to a VPN)
Can hide your IP address
Enable incognito keyboard by default while typing in Signal
Blur faces and private information from images with its powerful photo editor
These are the most outstanding functions, however, here is a detailed list.
WhatsApp is a much more secure application than the gossips say (it is also true that it took a long time to encrypt conversations from end to end and that reputation is difficult to overcome).
Telegram is the most complete instant messaging service, however, its security could be better. So far it has not suffered any serious problem, but it can be improved.
Signal is the most secure application, but it is the one with the fewest users.
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