Publication of the matrix for the masses package Element One • The Register

Element, which makes Matrix-based communication and collaboration tools, has launched a consumer-oriented version of its messaging platform, with bridges for WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram.

The company’s Matrix Services (EMS) has been the acceptable corporate face of the Matrix Network for some time now, charging customers reluctant to launch their own open source a fee for its wares. Over the months, it has introduced supported bridging technology to allow enterprise users to message users on other platforms such as Slack, Teams, and WhatsApp.

The company’s new product – Element One – effectively bundles three of the bridges that EMS says will appeal most to consumers – WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram – in a $5 per month package.

Having to spend $5 could give some potential customers, who have grown accustomed to free offers from messaging giants, pause to think. However, if we’ve learned anything from the social media giants over the past few years, it’s that freemium services are never truly free.

It is also not possible at this time to use the voice or video capabilities of bridged services. Of course, if Grandpa is also a Matrix user, then knock yourself out with all that end-to-end encrypted goodness. However, if it’s a bridged service it’s running, it’s only allowed messages, invites, and attachments at this time. You could make a voice or video message appear as an attachment, but it’s not really the same thing.

Regarding voice and video chats, EMS Vice President Richard Lewis said The register“I can’t say ‘Yeah, we’re going to have it tomorrow or next week’ but we’re going to keep trying to find a way to do it.”

Lewis noted the challenge inherent in the transition: “What we’re fighting against here is the siled nature of different businesses.”

“Facebook is trying to keep you locked in,” he said, “and it’s not in their interest to build bridges to other communities.”

The other challenge is the inconvenience of bridging, which will be all too familiar to veteran Element users. Chats with users from other platforms are subject to the terms and conditions of those platforms and an account is still required for the magic to work.

That is – unless everyone is a Matrix user. Even grandfather.

Lewis told us that bridges to Facebook Messenger and iMessage were high on the roadmap because both were commonly used by consumers: “if they can keep chatting in their system and you can have all that cat in the same place, it’s much better for them.”

And if that $5 seems too high a price to pay, there’s always the open source option. ®

About Florence L. Silvia

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