Open Whisper Systems, a provider of security-related technologies and apps for mobile devices, has started rolling out an Android version of its private messaging and calling iOS app Signal. In doing so, the company has consolidated the two current apps it has on Android into one, thereby mirroring what it gives iOS users.
Competing with the likes of Telegram, Open Whisper Systems promises that Signal will provide users with the utmost privacy — the company said it cannot hear your conversations or see your messages, which means neither can governments. “Everything in Signal is always end-to-end encrypted, and painstakingly engineered in order to keep your communication safe,” Open Whisper Systems declared in a blog post.
Until today, Android users have had two different apps: TextSecure for making and receiving messages and RedPhone for secure calling. Now the apps are one. For those who have the former, an update will convert TextSecure into Signal, complete with the capabilities of RedPhone. Those with the latter app can just uninstall it.
The two apps were debuted in 2014 as a means to protect the potentially billions of Android devices out there from unwanted intrusion by law enforcement and other snoopers. As part of its mission is to develop protocols that help companies offer encrypted services to their customers, Open Whisper Systems has branched out to help others, including WhatsApp, leveraging TextSecure’s protocol.
Open Whisper Systems says that its code is free and open source, which is significant because now developers should be able to use what the company has as a template to create their own encrypted calling and messaging app for the Android ecosystem.
There’s certainly a need for more private and secure messaging. Just look at Telegram: The company announced in September that its users send 12 billion messages a day, a marked increase from just 8 months ago when 1 billion were delivered.