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Why MegaChat is a potential Skype killer

Kim Dotcom’s Mega has finally launched the public beta for its secure audio and video chat service, which it hopes will put an end to Skype’s dominance of the market.

The browser-based service, dubbed MegaChat, has one killer feature which gives it a serious chance: end-to-end encryption, something likely to appeal to an increasingly savvy public in a post-Snowden world.

In the first few hours following launch, MegaChat reportedly registered half a million calls, showing that consumers are more than happy to jump ship from Skype to give it a go. And that’s just the MegaChat voice call feature; in time, users will be able to hold text conversations and video conferences too, just like Skype.

Megachat is, in its current state, a sound proposition for those looking to increase their privacy thanks to its encryption feature. While there are undoubtedly a few bugs to hunt, including notification and connection problems, at least Dotcom seems aware of the issues and is taking steps. He’s even put up a bounty for contractors who find flaws in the service.

Encryption is a hot topic that consumers have come to understand and value quickly, thanks to the endless stream of privacy invasion stories hitting the news. It was confirmed via last year’s infamous leaks that America’s NSA and our very own GCHQ were effectively looking at everything people say and do online, and – worryingly – many service providers were aiding them in their quest.

Services like MegaChat, which claim to prevent spying – or at the very least hamper it – offer those with minimal experience in the area a chance to cling on to what little privacy they have left.

Despite ongoing legal troubles stemming from his previous venture, MegaUpload, Dotcom has continued on his quest to offer users secure online services. MegaChat joins Mega, a secure cloud storage service, and it’s believed that Dotcom wants to add more services as time passes, giving people the opportunity to protect their data and communications – and earn him a few quid into the process too, of course.

If you want to give MegaChat a spin you’ll need a Mega account, which is free to set up on the Mega site. Let us know how you get on in the comments below.

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