Ask LH: What's The Deal With All These Messaging Apps?

Dear Lifehacker, I’ve been hearing a lot about different messaging apps these days, but I don’t understand why I should care. One search shows WhatsApp, Viber, iMessages, Snapchat, Kik, Facebook Messenger and dozens more. I already have text messaging. Why do I need these other apps?

HoverChat Sends SMS Messages In Facebook-Style Floating Chat Bubbles

Android: Facebook’s Chat Heads is the surprisingly clever feature with the silly name. If you prefer to use SMS but still want to use a floating messenger, HoverChat offers the same functionality in a basic texting app.

Hello SMS Brings Tabs And Easy Photo-Sharing To Text Messages

Android: In KitKat, Google has replaced the old Messaging app with Hangouts. If you still want a dedicated app for SMS, or if you’re on an older version of Android and want a better messaging app, Hello SMS is a strong contender as a beautiful replacement with a unique tabs-based interface.

Mumble! Customises SMS Notifications Based On Message Contents

Android: Not all messages are created equal. Unfortunately, notifications for those messages usually come in a one-vibration-fits-all style. Mumble! allows you to customise notifications based on the content of the messages you receive.

How To Undo And Avoid Sending Embarrassing Messages

Technology can make your life convenient . . . too convenient. Comfort can get the best of you and embarrassing things can happen. You’ll send emails to the wrong person or accidentally make a private post public. These simple little errors can have disastrous effects, but you can implement a safety net to try and avoid the horrible shame of a technological faux pas.

TextSecure Encrypts SMS Messages, No Root Required

Android: When CyanogenMod announced that it would be rolling encrypted text messaging into its ROM, we were a bit disappointed that it would only work for CM users. TextSecure thankfully broadens the base, making encryption available to any Android user.

Ask LH: Will Google Hangouts Back Up My SMS Messages?

Dear Lifehacker, I have a Nexus 5 and I have started using the Google Hangouts app for SMS my friends. But I’m wondering: are the SMS messages also backed up into Google?

Texting Can Be Great For 'Relationship Maintenance', Bad For Fights

Like it or not, short text messages are here to stay, and they’re going to affect our relationships. But how they do so is up to us. New research shows that texting can be great for keeping up with each other, but it’s very bad if used to express negative emotions.

Prey Adds SMS Commands To Get Your Lost Or Stolen Phone Back

Android: Prey is a great tool to get back lost or stolen gear, and it really works. However, if a thief disables it, you’re out of luck. That’s where today’s Prey updates come in. New SMS commands can return location data, lock or wipe your phone, and even hide Prey itself so the thief doesn’t know it’s there.

Google Hangouts Adds SMS Support, Location Sharing And Animated GIFs

Google began unifying messaging, video chat and photos in Hangouts this year, but now it has finally taken the next step. Your Hangouts app now supports SMS messages, as well as one-tap location sharing.