Mobile Messaging Apps Are Everywhere, And They're Not Doing Much To Distinguish Themselves

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We’ve reached an era in which each social network is competing to be a mobile messaging app and none is distinguishing itself particularly from the rest. An abundance of popular messaging apps all feature essentially the same idea — send photos or videos to your friends.

Non-messaging platforms have now added or enhanced a native messaging service. Yesterday, photo-sharing app Instagram introduced Instagram Direct, a way to message Instagram photos to a select number of friends or followers. Twitter this week enhanced their direct message (DM) feature so that users could now message photos to each other, as well.

It does make sense for platforms to rush into this burgeoning messaging market. Apps like WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Kik have been leaning on photo-sharing capabilities while their audience and usage numbers skyrocketed over the last year. Other networks don’t want to miss out on that engagement.

Mathew Ingram of GigaOm argues that the reason so many different messaging apps exist is that each different messaging app is used to communicate to a different set of people. Someone’s attempt to connect with him on Line confused him because he had never heard of Line, and yet Line is a messaging app with 300 million users.

So, what we have now is a messaging environment lacking in any real distinction, which inhibits the ability for one dominant messaging platform to emerge. Yes, there are differences in functionality and design that make each app distinct, but the differences aren’t significant enough to foster consolidation.

For consumers, we face a divided messaging ecosystem filled with too many individual apps that offer the same basic functionality but preclude the ability to communicate between each other. (GigaOm)

In other news…

Identity theft protection service LifeLock has acquired upstart mobile payments platform Lemon for just over $US42 million. This will help LifeLock launch its own mobile wallet. (TechCrunch)

Google will begin selling display ads based on viewability, meaning marketers will be able to pay for ads that they know people will see. (Business Insider)

YouTube is making a bigger push toward live content. It will now allow all registered channels to stream live events. (The Next Web)

In the U.S., Apple iPhone sales have dominated at each of the four major carriers. (All Things Digital)

Over-the-top streaming television service Aereo feels confident of its position should TV broadcasters take their case against the upstart TV streaming company to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Variety)

Researchers have created a more powerful alternative to Wi-Fi for tracking people through walls. WiTrack may be used in the future for gaming or for in-home safety. (GigaOm)

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The End Of The Feature Phone Is In Sight As Smartphones Take A 55% Share Of Mobile Phone Sales

The US Drives The Largest Number Of Tweets, But The Dutch Tweet The Most On A Per-User Basis

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