In the last months there have been a lot of heated discussions around Firefox OS and how the lack of a concrete app was a blocker for the whole platform. Yes, I’m talking about Whatsapp and their intention to not develop a webapp/Firefox OS app at this time. Let’s see why this is not that important over time.
Trends are just trends
In the past two weeks we have seen a surprising trend change in some countries, and specially in Spain around IM apps. A new app came into scene and people went crazy installing it. The same users we were told that won’t move from Whatsapp no matter what.
Telegram is an IM app, with an UI almost identical to Whatsapp, an open API and protocol, official open source and free clients for Android, iOS and also third party Win, Mac, Linux and web apps. The point is that everyone can build their own, they use secure protocols and it allows you not to go through their servers thanks to “secret and temporal chats”.
Tech blogs and press started to talk about it a few weeks ago in Spanish, and it went viral, really viral.
To be fair, most people installed it mainly because they don’t want to pay 1€/yr for Whatsapp, and also because they were told by their friends it’s quicker, it has secure chats where you can auto-destroy messages on both sides and it has desktop and web clients. It has some of the things people were complaining about Whatsapp for a long time and were never implemented.
In fact the success is being so big here that Telegram reported to be growing 200k users per day just in Spain and reached top 1 free app on Android and iOS stores last week. I’ve found myself surprised seeing some of my less tech-savvy contacts joining Telegram in the last weeks (60+ and counting right now).
What’s the point?
- Market can change, suddenly.
- No app should push a platform back.
- Trend are just that, trends.
- People trust their friends more than ads (and we know this very well at mozilla).
Our goal at Mozilla with Firefox OS is to enable and empower the web as the platform, and allow projects like Telegram to be successful if they have a vision. Projects which rely on out of date, closed and locked business models with no respect to user control and privacy are condemned to fail over time, and users are aware about this more and more these days.
I would like to encourage anyone interested in a Telegram app for Firefox OS to check Webogram, a webapp for Telegram, currently close to be ready for mobile, which need more testers and web hackers.