What is Signal and why is everyone talking about it?

Many people are conveying their thoughts on using famous messaging apps such as TwitterInstagram, and also standard SMS services. They think that these apps and services are not completely safe to ensure privacy. This is why the market and social surge of Signal has started. You can download the Signal app for free and was built to send encrypted audio, text, video, and image messages for groups and individuals. You can also use it for encrypted phone calls between the Signal users. Below is a brief way to understand what the app is all about and the reason for its sudden surge.

What is the Signal?

What is the Signal
What is the Signal

The whereabouts of its first appearance in its history was in 2012 when an organization known as Whisper Systems launched two Android apps: TextSecure was the first one that encrypted text messages and RedPhone was the other that functioned the same when it came to phone calls. The company was purchased by Twitter in 2011 and the apps were launched as free open-source software.

One of the founding fathers of Whisper Systems, in 2013, Moxie Marlinspike left Twitter. He created another startup known as Open Whisper Systems and progressed to build TextSecure and RedPhone. In the year 2014, the company declared that they would combine two apps into one under the new name called Signal. Brian Acton, co-founder of WhatsApp, and Marlinspike, in 2018, created a non-profit organization to progress the development of the app and keep it open-source and free.

Lately, there has also been a spike in the new downloads for Signal. Many people think that it is due to amends made at some other famous encrypted message service called WhatsApp. It also revealed in early January 2021 that it is going to change its terms and services agreement that would say that it will begin transferring personal information to its main company Facebook. This will officially start on February 8, 2021. Of course, most of the WhatsApp users do not like such kind of paradigm shift and have transferred to Signal.

What platforms support the app?

The Signal is there for iOS and Android devices and for PCs that run on Windows, Mac, Linux.

How does the Signal app work?

How does the Signal app work
How does the Signal app work

The app utilizes its own open-source Signal Protocol to offer encrypted end-to-end interaction between Signal users. That contains encrypted group chats, photos, videos, text, and voice messages, for iOS, Android, and PC owners. The Android version of this app can also be utilized as a phone’s SMS or MMS app, however, those text messages will not be encrypted.

The mobile version also endorses encrypted voice and video calls. In October 2020, the Signal Foundation declared that it officially had added voice and video calls for its PC and iPad apps too. The Signal app is also increasing its support when it comes to group chats. Group admins can now be chosen who can add or eliminate people in the group. There’s also help for @mentions if you want to focus on a certain person in a group chat. For anyone out to join a Signal group, Group links can also be sent out.

The developers of the app say that Signal messages are not only encrypted but also all of the metadata in the messages are invisible. It means that, if you have a Signal chat with someone, only the person who receives your messages will be able to see it.

This is also because the app’s development is being funded via a non-profit corporation, hence, there’s no financial reasons to sell any information. Ads are not available and the app will be free to download and utilize. Additionally, since it’s open-source software, anyone can lend a hand to its development.

Who recommends the app?

Who recommends the app
Who recommends the app

According to The Verge, in February 2020; the European Commission delivered a note to its staff members that said the Signal app was now the “suggested application for public instant messaging.” Jack Dorsey who is the CEO and founder of Twitter is a massive Signal supporter. Vox also reported that during June 2020, Signal was one of the most famously installed social apps that made it to the top 10 list of downloaded apps on iOS.

The armed forces of our country use the app too. MilitaryTimes has stated that the 82nd Airborne’s Task Force Devil; deployed to the Middle East in the month of January 2020; used the Signal app on their smartphones. One thing is for certain that the app has been growing at a spiking rate. But there are major concerns about privacy or lack thereof in other messaging apps.

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