August 5th is International Day of Friendship. Though there are many different ways people connect with friends both near and far, one thing is for sure: the mechanisms for connection have changed. While some people may still correspond with friends and family overseas via snail mail, there are now much more expedient and inexpensive options. We’ve compiled a few technologies below that are helping friends connect internationally at low costs.
With over one billion users around the world, WhatsApp is the most popular SMS-replacement app. Messages are exchanged between smartphone users via either a Wi-Fi or LTE connection What makes this so popular? The app is specifically built for connecting with friends internationally! Users in different countries can share kind words, images, and videos with each other, without incurring costly international SMS-fees.
Skype leverages a user’s Internet connection to place voice and video calls to other Skype users. While this app was one of the original video calling services, and can still be used as such, it’s now used mostly for international calling. This makes it the most commonly used platform designed to help users save on international calling expenses, as Skype-to-Skype calls are absolutely free. For calling internationally, whether to connect with friends and family or for business, it is easy to connect while avoiding those pesky international fees as well.
Much like WhatsApp, Facebook Messager enables users to send messages across international borders while avoiding SMS costs. Facebook Messenger also has the added benefit of incorporating a user’s social profile. Sharing Facebook posts in private messages is easy with its native messenger app. Within the platform, you can also find and share messages with people you aren’t friends with. This can be a way to widen your social network to find more friends and connect with more people as well.
Through Snapchat, users send temporary photos, videos, and text-based messages. The app also allows users to make illustrations on top of their photos and apply all sorts of filters, emojis, and stickers. After some time, all exchanges disappear. The temporary nature of the app helps to encourage more organic and natural interactions between friends. Since its creation, Snapchat has evolved quite a bit. Today, it is a powerful tool, connecting users all over the world, and has even recently added news sections featuring short, digestible articles to keep the (mostly young) users of the app involved and informed.
Rebtel may be the least well-known phone application on this list. The app allows users to make cheap international phone calls, even when they are not connected to Wi-Fi or LTE. However, unlike the other apps on this list, Rebtel leverages its technologies to map calls through local landlines, so you don’t have to sacrifice quality to make less expensive international calls.