[tor-project] Future of Tor Messenger

Sukhbir Singh sukhbir at torproject.org
Wed Oct 25 18:26:55 UTC 2017

* Arthur D. Edelstein:

> However, there have been a number of chat clients integrated in
> browsers (such as Netscape Communicator, Firefox Hello, etc.) but most
> have eventually been discontinued. It would be good to understand why
> that is.

Good idea. But one of the things we do differently (other than of course Tor)
is for example OTR by default and we support things like OTR over Twitter DMs.
I think it is these features that make us different from other chat clients,
that we designed it with security and privacy in mind and not the other way

> One type of chat that is extremely popular is mobile messaging (text
> messages, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, QQ Mobile, Snapchat etc.) I
> think a metadata-free mobile messaging app (similar to ricochet) is
> likely to be much more popular than any desktop chat app. So if we're
> looking how to transition to a new chat product, I would strongly
> consider switching to a focus on mobile, regardless of whether it's
> integrated with the browser.
> In general, I would advocate taking a cold, hard look at user numbers,
> both in terms of our own apps and apps in the same markets (chat,
> email, etc.). I think we should try to focus on what most users want.

I agree that mobile is important (and indeed in some countries, people just
use smart phones to communicate) but my (personal) opinion on this topic is
that mobile is not the platform we want to target, at least with "Tor
Messenger".  Now of course an argument can be made that we can transition the
same patches, but that's not the main idea.  I think there are other apps in
the space already that are doing a better job than we could, unless of course
we work on something like Ricochet for smartphones. That is why when asked,
"Is there something like Tor Messenger for mobile?" to which our answer has
been, "No and there are no plans. Use Signal/something by the Guardian

The kind of users I (and I cannot speak for the rest of the team) have in mind
with something like "Tor Messenger" are the ones that need to use messaging on
desktop for Twitter, XMPP, IRC, and that we can enable them to do so securely.
Unless of course we do something like Ricochet on mobile, which would then beg
the question if we should abandon the desktop space altogether and leave it to
Pidgin and Adium?


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