One for all, all for one


Is anyone else out there fed up with all the messengers you must sign up for to keep in touch with your friends, colleagues, and college buddies? The problem seems to have only multiplied with home office, privacy problems, and social distancing. If you are tired of handling multiple apps and interfaces, this one is for you.


Rambox has been around for a while; it is free to use for the basic user. However, some users might need more, and there are payment plans that you can choose from according to your needs. There is no mobile app for this one, but you can find it on pretty much every other platform. Rambox supports a whopping 717 apps, including apps that are not IM messengers, like calendars, online storage, and mail programs. So, regardless of your IM, there is a good chance it is already on this app. Rambox also lets users integrate third-party add-ons like Grammarly, One Password, and Adblockers. While it isn’t strictly an all-in-one messenger, it is a better way to organize your workflow, including your messenger apps.  


Ferdi is very similar to Rambox; it organises all your apps in one place, but for free. The open-source app is available on GitHub for Windows, Linux, and mac OS. It doesn’t have the entire roster that Rambox has managed, but it is very well designed and useful for anyone who feels disorganised while using the computer. You can create different workspaces, making it easy to switch and navigate. You can also add a To Do list to each workspace, and you know what needs to be done for the day. The app is constantly updated, so there is always something new to explore. 


Franz is a cheaper alternative to most of the other workspace apps here. The basic service is free, and you can add up to 3 applications you use from a choice of 70. Some of the available applications include Slack, Whatsapp, Telegram, and Skype. Your accounts are synchronized and stored in the cloud. Like some of the others, Franz also features workspaces where you can separately interact with your work contacts and personal ones. Another great feature is Franz is multilingual, including Indian languages. For personal use, Franz charges around $3 a month, you can add six services, and you get a spellchecker. For unlimited service, though, you need to pay almost $6 (approx. Rs 490) a month.


Shift is similar to Rambox and Ferdi, with a few additional features thrown in. First, it is not just messengers; you can add workspaces and organise your apps accordingly. You can also add apps, including browsers, extensions, mail programs, and messengers. The application is available for Windows and Mac. Shift is pretty well organised, letting you truly balance work and personal through its app. Like some of the apps on this list, Shift offers a freemium model, its free tier lets you add two mail accounts and one app account, which is not enough to be useful, but you can test it out to see if you want to fork over the $119 charge per year to use the premium account. The premium account has no restrictions.


Beeper has the distinction on this list of being the only one that has a smartphone interface. Owing to the sheer amount of data, most of the other options are only computer-based. Beeper handles over 15 chat services, including Meta Messenger (Facebook), Slack, WhatsApp, Twitter, Signal, Telegram, and Discord. All chats on Beeper are fully encrypted. You can install the app on Mac. Windows, Linux, and even Chrome OS. Unfortunately, actually getting to use it takes a bit of time. To use their service, you need to register, and then they will need to send you an invite, and there is a queue. The service is also paid; users will have to fork out $10 (approx. R816) every month. Not everyone will be willing to pay for this service.

All-in-One Messenger

If you are looking for something more focused on messenger services, then All-in-One Messenger is perfect for you. The application supports over 40 messenger services, including LinkedIn, Slack, WhatsApp, Skype, and ICQ. All-in-One Messenger lets you customise notifications to ensure you only get what you need. Unlike some other apps, this doesn’t offer work and personal workspaces. However, it does allow multiple instances of chat programs, letting you run all your WhatsApp numbers, Twitter and Skype IDs separately. The program is much simpler than Ferdi, Franz, or Rambox and is also lighter on resource usage. The application runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

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