Skype annoys me at times. Actually, Skype annoys me almost all the time. I use it very frequently, but that’s because it’s the only really good way to keep in touch with my friends. I don’t particularly like Skype.
One huge concern with Skype is security and privacy. Skype is owned by Microsoft, and there is a really good chance that it is full of backdoors so that Microsoft and the NSA can listen in and record your conversations. This annoys me, not because I have something to hide, but because it’s an invasion of my privacy and a violation of my rights. Enter MEGAchat.
MEGAchat is a new service made by Kim Dotcom. Kim Dotcom is the man who invented MegaUpload, and later MEGA. After MegaUpload was seized, he became adamant about privacy and security. He went on to create a new, secure, and private replacement for MegaUpload, simply called MEGA. MEGA is a really awesome service and gives you 50GB of super fast, private, encrypted cloud storage for free. A few days ago, MEGA rolled out their new MEGAchat service as an open beta.
MEGAchat is a secure, encrypted, and private alternative to Skype. Right now it’s a little undeveloped, buggy, and lacks features, but it shows huge amounts of promise, and I can’t wait to see it when it is complete. I tried it with both Palpy and Sharktoothicus and I was impressed. The audio quality was amazing and I just felt a lot more comfortable as compared to using Skype. I didn’t feel like someone was listening. I only tried the video for a few minutes, but from what I can tell, it is pretty good as well. The video quality was pretty nice, and there didn’t seem to be any video/audio offset. The frame rate was alright, although it probably could have been better. Overall, it was pretty good, but it needs more development.
So what needs to be improved upon? Well, the call ended suddenly several times, not really from unstable connections, but because the GUI was buggy, whenever certain things happened, the call would end.
Another thing that did not really work very well was file sharing. The interface for file sharing is not user friendly, and it didn’t work correctly even when I did figure it out. It also required us to upload the file to our cloud drives before we could send anything, which I guess makes sense for security reasons, but it is definitely tedious, and I think an end to end file transfer would work better. It feels kinda pointless to even have file sharing if you have to upload it to cloud drive first, because you might as well just send your friend a link or share it with them using MEGA cloud drive’s sharing function.
So what’s missing that needs to be added? Well the most important thing is definitely text chat. Yes, you read correctly, MEGAchat currently has no plain text chat support, or it if it does, I couldn’t find it. This is basic functionality, and I’m not really sure why or how it’s not there. It is still beta, so we’ll let them slide on it for now, but this is definitely something that needs to be added sooner rather than later.
Another huge thing missing is group support. There is no feature for talking to more than one person at a time, conference call style. If this functionality was here, I would have ditched Skype immediately, but unfortunately, I very frequently talk to more than one person at once, and that is something that MEGAchat can’t so right now.
So, is MEGAchat worth your time? Absolutely. Go check it out. It’s an awesome service and it shows tons of promise. Some things are buggy and missing, but I’m positive they will improve it as we go forward, and I can’t wait to see what they do with it. When the service leaves beta, I will report again.