Friday, April 3, 2015

Wire - messaging at a new level

Wire is a new messaging service with a bit different approach in terms of usage, interaction and style.

A few month ago the Wire app for Android has been released. Since then I was using it, testing it, discussing it a lot, now I want to share my thoughts about it.

What is Wire?

Wire is a messaging service / app similar in it's basics to WhatsApp, Skype, Telegram or some others.
So why bother with it as there are plenty of messaging methods available already?

Because it is different!

First off, I have to agree with the developers, it is beautiful. Wire got a very clear and simple style that differs it from all the other messaging apps which basically look the same, all of them.

Simple and beautiful conversations

Further on, the conversations are fast, means I haven't found any of this delay on message delivering yet that I have seen at most other services often. Sometimes the message delivery has been delayed several hours for some friends of me with other messaging services.

It's build for mobile so with low battery usage in mind which, at least in my case, was totally true so far. Even after heavy usage the battery consumption has been a lot lower than I am used to from some other messaging apps.

  • Text conversation / messaging
  • Send pictures, videos, links, pings
  • Voice calls / conversations
  • Group conversations

Also with all that discussion about security and the Snowden leaks I don't want to miss to point out, that Wire is an European based company (located in Switzerland and the developers are located in Berlin Germany). The servers are located within the EU as well and the communication is encrypted (end to server for text messages and media files, end to end for voice calls).

How does it work?

Getting started

First, get the app. Wire is available to Android (smartphones), iOS and MacOS so far. A WebApp is under development and to be released soon, means Wire will be available to be used just at a browser, without the need of an smartphone or to install any software at your computer at all. There might also be an Android tablet version in the future, at least I hope so ;-)

Get Wire

Set up an account

Of course you need to set up an account. Similar to e. g. Skype, Wire uses an account with login and password. Different to this approach WhatsApp takes the telephone number to identify it's users. The huge benefit of an account with login over the telephone number version is that you can use it at several devices without being restricted to just one device.

Create a new account or sign in

When creating a new account, you also set up a picture and color for yourself. This will be the portrait your represented with in conversations and the color accent the app presents itself to you. Both can be changed at any time.

Portrait and color selection

Get connected

Of course, a messaging app without anyone to talk to doesn't make the most sense. This is also the part new messaging apps and services suffer the most with.
Often within a group of people, if someone tries a new messaging app, he or she will have to convince all his or her friends to join as well, otherwise it will be very quiet there...
Within Wire you can connect to people already using wire or send invites by email to thous you want to join as well.

Add friends
*names have been blurred on purpose

In other words, try out wire, show it to your friends and get them to try it as well, then you can have some real benefit of it.

Start conversations

Simply open a conversation with someone and start typing.

Conversation in Wire

Pictures and videos can be placed within the conversation as well.

Pictures and videos in an conversation

When a picture is not loaded completely yet, the way Wire shows it's preview is very nice and unique as well.

Preview of a picture

When swiping at the cursor line to the right, you will get additional options for adding images, ping or start a voice call. Other than that, the user interface is kept as clean as possible.

Options to add pictures, ping or start a voice call

Starting a voice call simply will call the other one your in a conversation with. I want to bring out that the voice quality is extremely good, you should really try it.

Incoming voice call

Within a conversation swipe from left to right to get back to the conversation list, simple as that.

Conversation list

Group conversations

Group conversations are done in Wire by simply opening an conversation, then add people as you wish to.

Group conversation

Also you can rename the conversation to what ever you like to. Oh and the conversation is fully democratically, means everyone within the conversation can add more people or rename the conversation.

A group conversation has been renamed

As conversations with many people might lead to lots of messages and so to lots of notifications which might be disturbing a bit. Therefore each conversation can be muted by itself (cut through bell symbol). You will still see the indicator for new messages.
Conversation list with indicators and a new message preview


I like Wire a lot, especially because it is different and very convenient in my opinion.
So far everyone I showed it to was excited and wanted to test it out. Most of them are still around, convincing more of their friends to join as well. Also some friends as well as some colleagues of mine are using Wire for different group conversations now, which works great for us.

Wire might not provide all the features other messaging service offer at the moment but it is evolving and getting there more and more. On the other side, it does not have the failures the others apps are suffering with. 
Also the developers are very responsive to feedback and suggestions from the community, so I would suggest, give it a try and add your feedback to make it even better.

I already had the chance to take a look at the upcoming WebApp, which I really enjoyed a lot as well.

Back to my earlier question "Do we need another messaging app?" the answer needs to be "No", but I don't want to miss Wire anymore (but could imagine to leave out some other messaging apps, just need to convince the rest of my friends to join in ;-) ).