Forget buzzy messaging apps. Maybe you don't need to be able to online shop--and send secret messages from the same app. But maybe you do need a secure and reliable mode of communication. Or maybe you do need to be able to chat in multiple languages in an instant.

No matter the circumstance, here are a few of the best free messaging apps--should you want to communicate in English or emoji.

Maintain your privacy.

If you're worried about would-be fraudsters people reading your messages and sifting sensitive information, you might try Signal or Bleep.

Signal is an app developed by Open Whispers Systems that uses end-to-end encryption and comes highly recommended by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. Bleep relies on a peer-to-peer network to secure your information. This means your messages travel from one device to the other without ever going through a central unit, much like the system of its maker, BitTorrent.

Stay up to date, even when you're out.

As an entrepreneur on the go, you might sometimes find yourself in need of a good translator. While Google Translate can work in a pinch, consider DoTalk. Developed by Australian entrepreneur Reno Nicastro, DoTalk is an app that uses proprietary software to simultaneously translate voice and text messages in 90 different languages. Its premium version ($4.99 a month for a year) includes a group chat feature.

Don't miss out, ever.

Amity works like any other messaging app out there, except there's one big difference. You can request photos, videos or locations from your friends using the app. One of the features that will probably get a love or hate reaction from users is the "nudge," which makes your contact's phone buzz and shake when you send a message.

Ditch the keyboard (and words).

From Google's in-house incubator, dubbed Area 120, comes Supersonic, a new messaging app that forgoes keyboards altogether.

The platform has only two buttons--a microphone, to send voice messages, and an emoji, to send, well, emojis. The button opens a menu where you can select different emoji options. What stands out about the app--other than the lack of a keyboard--is that it's able to instantly (and for the most part, accurately) transcribe your voice messages to emojis and text.

Get the full package.

Facebook's WhatsApp has secure end-to-end encryption, group chat functionality, voice and video calls, and a new Snapchat-like status function that lets you share with your contacts a photo, video or gif for 24 hours before it disappears.

It is also one of the most popular messaging apps out there--in the U.S. and the world. According to research firm Statista, as of January 2017, WhatsApp had over 1.2 billion active users globally (Snapchat has 159 million according to its S-1 filing) and it is only rivaled by Facebook's Messenger, which has about 1 billion active users worldwide.

Published on: Mar 22, 2017