Yes, the headline has decentralized and messenger in the same sentence. Sounds good, doesn't it? The question is: How good is Jami and could it be on our list of the best recommendations for 2021?
Let's dive in!
Jami, formerly known as Ring, is a peer-to-peer, end-to-end encrypted messenger, the introduction on Jami.net reads
"Share, freely and privately"
And that is pretty much what Jami does.
Jami is 100% open-source and no data is stored on any server. The encryption provided by Jami is RSA-Keys (4096-Bit). Yet, keep in mind, Jami has not been audited by any third party as of yet.
Sign-up with Jami is pretty easy and straightforward. You do not need a telephone number, just pick a username, and encrypt your account with a password, and you can pick a profile picture if you choose to do so.
This also means you don't need to link a telephone number or need to be worried about having an account linked to a SIM card etc.
Usernames can be exchanged, and you also have the availability of QR codes to share with friends who can scan your code on the mobile Jami app.
Additionally, you can just click next and not sign up with a username! This would generate an encryption key as your username which is displayed when you chat with others. In other words you can chat with non-registered users or have a one-time login for a chat.
Jami is available on iOS, Android (Google Play and via F-Droid), Linux, Windows and macOS. Jami is even available on Android TVs. In other words, you can run it on pretty much every platform available on the market.
Jami has a configuration or settings where you can set your profile picture, username etc.
At Accounts settings you can also temporarily deactivate or reactivate your account. Here you can back up your account. This is the only way to retrieve an account, so I highly recommend doing so.
You can use Jami on multiple devices. To do so, click Link another device and enter your password. Afterwards, click Export to network to initiate the connection. Jami will generate a PIN which you need on the other device, this expires a few minutes after you generate it. Now link your secondary device by clicking Import from other device, enter the password and the created PIN. This links both of your devices and even moves the contacts you have on the other open device.
However, you will only see your chat partners, your conversations will only stay on the device used when you chatted with your contacts. Note if you have both devices on you will get the chats of your contacts on both devices, however, your replays are only showing on the device used.
You also have the option to blacklist contacts or block anyone not in your contact list.
The settings also allow you to select and automatically download files of up to 100 MB.
As mentioned Jami is peer-to-peer, so when someone texts you, you will be prompted to accept this chat. It will have a username attached if the other end has a registered Jami name, or just a cryptic ID where the name usually shows.
Any chat will stay as is, in other words you cannot rename the chat once established. Jami supports sending files and audio and video conversations with two or more participants in a resolution of up to 4K and you can send audio or video messages to your friends and contacts.
Another cool feature is desktop sharing, just right-click on the screen, and you can then choose between just the selected area or full-screen sharing.
When using multiple devices I have witnessed chats working great, but file sharing can be a pain and never downloads. When using only one device I did not have these problems.
Video calls are impressive and even with multiple users one of the best I've used so far. This makes a great team chat with file and screen sharing.
In a Nutshell
I must admit I like Jami a lot. The screen sharing feature, the video calls and group video calls are top of its class. However, the chat is not always reliable, especially when you use multiple devices. I also do not see it as a tool to get your friends over to easily except if you sell it as a great Zoom replacement. I would say it is a perfect zoom replacement.
With the potential to perhaps to become one of the greatest chat tools in the near future. Keep in mind that Jami is in its infancy, it has a long way to go, but it is decentralized and certainly something to keep an eye on!