Nextcloud Talk 12 introduces voice messages, location sharing, Outlook integration and more

Who owns your data? The illusion of control given by constant, unlimited access to your data is strong. But more and more people are becoming aware of the risks and want to take back control.

Nextcloud Talk 12 is for you. We want it to replace the big tech platforms for you – with a privacy-respecting and decentralized alternative. This release introduces a series of popular features for private users, but also some that help make enterprises get more out of Nextcloud.

WhatsApp is forcing users to agree to egregious terms of services; Microsoft is shutting down Skype-for-business next month. This is a good time to move! We don’t earn money on ads or surveillance, your server is yours. And with a hosted Nextcloud, enterprises, educational institutes and private users can immediately benefit from a decentralized, ad-free, surveillance-free communication experience.

Having a handful of huge corporations in control over the vast majority of communication of, basically, everyone, everywhere is a huge risk. Where are these companies located and under what jurisdiction do they operate? Can they just shut accounts down? Spy on communication? The ads-based business model of many big tech firms alone, essentially monetizing surveillance, should give pause.

What’s new

Here’s a full overview of what is new:

  • Deck integration (create task from chat message, share a task into a chat)
  • Send voice messages (web and mobile)
  • Share your location (mobile)
  • Share contacts (mobile, from the Contacts app)
  • See and edit your own profile information now also in the mobile apps
  • Privacy settings in your profile
  • Multi-Session (web and mobile – no video)
  • Delete messages up to 6 hours after you sent them
  • Get a direct link to a chat message
  • Sounds for join/leave call members
  • Outlook integration with Talk
  • UI improvements on mobile
    • You can now share a file into a chat room from the OS share dialog
    • Android: open files inside app (jpg, .png, .gif, .mp3, .mp4, .mov, .wav, .txt, .md)
    • other data types are opened with external apps if they are able to handle it
    • Android: add grid view for calls, make own video movable

Replacing WhatsApp

WhatsApp promotes E2EE among its users, but this does in no way protect them from metadata harvesting, as important as the actual data according to the ACLU. Of course, through its app, WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, has access to all the data regardless of encryption anyway. Will that be abused? Previously, that company has been caught abusing phone numbers given for use with 2-factor authentication, for advertising purposes. It shows that trusting so much data to one company is fundamentally risky as ‘free’ services are far from free from consequences for users.

Now, WhatsApp is aggressively pushing users to accept a new, vague and intransparent updated policy in a way that, according to EU consumer organizations, breaches the EU directives on Unfair Commercial Practices and, in general, the EU consumer rights.

Nextcloud Talk provides users with the common features of instant messaging apps, such as one on one chat, group chat, video calls, message replies, emojis, read status setting and a lot more available on the web and mobile.

With Nextcloud Talk 12, mobile users can now easily share photos, documents or contact details in a chat or share their location. Both web and mobile interfaces offer an easy way to share a voice message, another feature popular among younger users. Profile information with privacy settings and editable conversation descriptions on mobile complete the improved user experience.

We hope that with these changes, Talk is ready to replace WhatsApp for the majority of users!

Record a voice message
Record a voice message
Share current location
Share current location
Shared a contact
Shared a contact
Usersettings 1
Usersettings 1
editing personal information and privacy settings in Talk
Personal and privacy settings

Replacing Skype-for-business

As part of its aggressive SaaS strategy, Microsoft is retiring Skype-for-Business hosted on July 31st. While their on-premises platform will continue to exist for a while longer, the direction is clear. Enterprises that appreciate the control and privacy that come with on-premises collaboration can no longer rely on Microsoft for their communication.

With Talk 12, users can turn a chat message into a task in Deck or share a task into a chat room

Nextcloud Hub 22 offers a complete collaboration alternative that is 100% on-premises, without vendor lock-in or (meta) data leaks. It offers a wide range of features Skype-for-Business does not. Among those are persistent chat, which offers a record of earlier conversations that is easily searched from within Nextcloud’s Unified Search. It is easy to create conversations, search and join conversations from other teams or invite guest users with a public link. Talk offers robust meeting capabilities, complete with moderation, file sharing, collaborative document editing and more. Conversations can be locked, a scheduled lobby can limit visibility for non-moderators and access to conversations can be configured for other users on the server, guest account users or guests that join with a public link. External users can join easily from a browser, without having the installation of an app forced on them.

Nextcloud Talk 12 expands on its integration with business workflows, allowing users to turn a chat message into a task, or share a task in a conversation. Outlook and Nextcloud Calendar integration makes it easy to create a Talk room with a single click. Messages can now be deleted by the user who created them for 6 hours after they are sent.

With these new improvements, most enterprises will find Talk can take over the tasks of Skype for them.

For businesses using Outlook, Nextcloud Talk can be integrated in the Calendar app, just as file attachments can be replaced in the mail component.

Not every business or individual is ready to run their own server. Luckily, hosting providers across the globe are starting to host Nextcloud Talk, giving users a local chat and video communication platform they can trust. Nextcloud Talk 12 is available in the Nextcloud app store immediately, and hosted solutions are offered by major hosting providers including IONOS, Deutsche Telekom and others. The Sendent Nextcloud Outlook add-in is available through Nextcloud, a free version can be found on nextcloud.com/outlook.

See how easy it is to add a conversation room to a meeting invitation!

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