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RetroShare 0.5.4e.6268

Chat and share files on your own secure social network

by Mike Williams

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License: Open Source
Operating Systems: Linux, Mac OS X, Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows Vista (64 bit), Windows XP
Languages: English, Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Danish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish, Turkish
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 29 August 2013
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 536
Developer: RetroShare
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RetroShare 0.5.4e.6268
Chat and share files on your own secure social network

RetroShare is a powerful tool which allows you to chat, share files and otherwise communicate with a group of trusted friends.

The program is what the developers call a "secure social network". The features are very similar, so you can share your news, read what's going on with other people, post on forums, use instant messaging and voice chat, share files, folders and more. But you're only connected to trusted friends/ family/ work colleagues (or whoever else you want to invite). So you have to explicitly add someone before you can connect to them at all. And because the system is decentralised - there's no central server control everything - and RetroShare's connections are encrypted with GPG (GNU Privacy Guard), you can be sure that no-one else will get to monitor what you're saying or sharing, not even the RetroShare developers.

If you're thinking this sounds a little complex to set up, then you have a point, to a degree. You'll need to generate a GPG key to establish your identity, for instance, then exchange it with friends to authenticate the connection. This isn't actually that difficult (creating a key is just a matter of filling in a form, for instance), and you only have to do it once, but it's undeniably more complicated than using Facebook.

And we found several other situations where RetroShare made few concessions to beginners. On first launch, for instance, it detects any plugins you've installed and asks you to authorise them, much like Firefox with a new extension. This is easy to do (it takes one click), but they just use an alarming "RetroShare has detected an unregistered plugin" apparent error message which will probably leave some users thinking there's a security issue.

This isn't quite as polished as regular social networks, then - but it's not really so difficult to use, either. A toolbar gives you easy to all RetroShare's key features, listing your friends, taking you to group chat rooms, displaying shared files, forums, channels and more. A left-hand panel includes links to common functions like the instant messenger, or file sharing, and a couple of wizards do a reasonable job of helping you get started.

Plainly RetroShare still isn't going to replace your other social network accounts. If you and a group of friends would like to also have a more private place, though, somewhere unmonitored, just for you, then it could work very well indeed. Just keep in mind that there will be quite an initial learning curve as you figure out how everything works.


While not quite as straightforward as it could be, RetroShare is still an excellent tool for building your very own custom and secure social network

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WhatsApp Messenger 2.12.11

Free Full Commercial Software

WhatsApp Messenger is the world's most popular instant messaging app for smartphones.

You can use it to send and receive text and voice messages, photos, videos, even call your friends in other countries, and because it uses your phone's internet connection it might not cost you anything at all (depending on whether you'll pay data charges).

It's easy to set up and use. There's no need to create and remember new account names or pins because it works with your phone number, and uses your regular address book to find and connect you with friends who use WhatsApp already.

You can talk one-to-one or in group chats, and because you're always logged in there's no way to miss messages. Even if your phone is turned off, WhatsApp will save your messages and display them as soon as you're back online.

There's plenty more (location sharing, contact exchange, message broadcasting) and the app is free for a year, currently $0.99/ year afterwards.

Version 2.12.11 brings:

• Links that you share or receive will now include a rich preview. When sending a link, you have the option to not include a rich preview.
• Additional 3D Touch features: You can now quickly Peek and Pop chats.
• Redesigned Settings tab. 
• You can now view all your starred messages across all your chats in Settings — Starred Messages.