Chat Apps are increasingly being used to replace SMS text messaging where it is free, offers group messaging and photo/video sharing. There also a growing number of video chat (also known as video conferencing) apps available.
WhatsApp allows users to send text messages and voice messages, make voice and video calls, and share images, documents, user locations, and other media.
Slack enables users to create chat rooms (channels) organized by topic, private groups, and direct messaging.
Discord enables topic based text, image, video and audio communication between users in a chat channel.
Snapchat is a video messaging application. Users can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to a controlled list of recipients. These photos and videos are known as ‘Snaps’. They delete automatically after a set amount of time unless the other user chooses to screenshot the snap. When a snap is posted the chosen recipient gets a notification.
Facebook Messenger users can send messages and exchange photos, videos, stickers, audio, and files. The service also supports voice and video calling. The standalone apps support using multiple accounts, conversations with optional end-to-end encryption, and playing games.
Facebook Messenger Rooms is a video chat room where you can use link sharing to connect to more people. Depending on your room settings, participants won’t need to download, log in to or connect on Messenger to join your call. Rooms can be created via Facebook or Messenger. Participants can use augmented reality filters and change their background in real-time.
Skype provides instant messaging services. Users may transmit text, video, audio and images. Skype also allows video conference calls.
Zoom is a video chat tool enabling participants with a webcam to see each other. Features include one-on-one meetings, group video conferences, screen sharing, and the ability to record meetings and have them automatically transcribed.
Houseparty is a social networking service that enables group video chatting through mobile and desktop apps. Users receive a notification when friends are online and available to group video chat.
If you want total privacy, Telegram is an app where messages between users are free and private, and you can initiate a secret chat, which heavily encrypts messages user-to-user with a unique key, to avoid interception.