In today's connected world, we use several messaging services to stay in touch with our family, friends, and colleagues. At any given moment, you may have a few unread WhatsApp messages or texts or several unread emails.
For example, I use WhatsApp as my main instant messaging service, Gmail for personal emails, an Outlook-based email address for work, and I have a few friends on Messenger and Telegram, and I also use Slack for office communication. It's not a problem with the phone as I use the dedicated apps for all of them.
But when I'm using my desktop or laptop, I have to juggle between the two to check messages and notifications.
WhatsApp Web and Android phone integration with Windows 10 do help to a certain extent but I still wish for an all-in-one messaging service, which covered emails, IM, video call, and SMS.
While we can only dream about such a service, we currently do have an intermediate solution for this first-world problem. The solution comes in the form of an app that acts as a hub where you can access all the popular messaging and email services.
Rambox is an free, open source application for Windows, Mac, and Linux that allows you to access various web services such as Whatsapp Web, Telegram desktop, Gmail, Outlook, and several more under a single roof. The list of supported services is quite long with 90+ names ranging from popular ones such as WhatsApp, Gmail, and Outlook to the relatively unheard ones like Proton mail, Glip, and HipChat.
Moreover, if your service is not in the list, you can even add it using the Custom Service option. Any service, which has a web-interface, can be easily added by including its link on Rambox.
What Gets Thumbs Up?
The setup process for adding a new service is really easy. Just select the service from the list and a pop-up box will open, allowing you to tweak some options (if you want). Next, you need to hit the Add button and you are done. All the signing in process is done in the individual tabs of the services. Yes, there are tabs much like your web browser.
As it's similar to your browser, all the services work without any problem concerning the user interface (UI) or any functionality. You can toggle the Don't Disturb mode, which silences notifications from all the linked services. Plus, you can also lock the whole app with a master password. With that, you can be sure that no one will forward NSFW pictures to your family WhatsApp group and your boss's email in your absence.
Lastly, one underrated feature is the ability to inject custom script for each service. While I don't know much about coding, an example shown by Rambox made me believe that this can be a very powerful feature if someone actually has proper knowledge of java scripts.
What Gets Thumbs Down?
The UI, though very simple to use and understand, could have been a bit more polished. In a world where everyone is switching to flatter designs with clean lines, Rambox feels a little out of place. However, as the application is free and open source, we can't complain too much.
Next, Rambox essentially shows the desktop versions of the services you link. This way, they look and feel the same as in web browsers. This may not be a con but it's nothing different from forking out an alternative to a lightweight browser plus some add-ons. This also means that your phone needs to be connected to the Internet for WhatsApp Web to work.
Finally, the Don't Disturb mode should have some more options like the ability to mute individual services and set a routine for quiet periods.
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There are two alternatives to Rambox, All-in-One Messenger and Franz 5.0. But both have some shortcomings. While All-in-One Messenger only supports IM services and is a Google Chrome extension, Franz requires a paid plan to unlock all its features.
Rambox strikes the right chord between these two. Plus, it's also compatible with Mac and Linux.
Do share your thoughts through comments. If you are using some other solution or app for this process, we would love to hear about it as well.