"GoldBug is a secure Instant Messenger."
When I first heard of GoldBug, I had imagined a much different program than the one I found myself tinkering around with for this review. GoldBug is branded as a super secure instant messaging client, which to me sounded like another AIM or MSN Messenger with some extra security. What I found it to actually be was actually quite overwhelming, because it features a whole lot more than just Instant Messaging. The program also has built-in functionality for IRC, E-mail, chat servers, and community boards. Everything is ridiculously secure too, so there's no worry of your conversations being monitored.
The process of installing GoldBug is probably the easiest task you'll be faced with when trying to set everything up. Simply download the .zip file, extract it, and then run the GoldBug.exe file. It doesn't try to bundle software and you never actually install anything.
Once you've opened the program, you're given a small window with the option of creating a pass phrase - which will be used to access the program. This must be at least 16 characters, and there's a bunch of options for encryption and security right above the pass phrase entry box. After setting a pass phrase, the rest of the program will become available via the small icons on the right-hand panel.
If you weren't already slightly confused by GoldBug, you're about to be unless you're knowledge-able about networking, security, and chat clients. There isn't enough room in this review to cover each feature and explain how to set them up, and unfortunately GoldBug isn't very helpful to new users. On one hand you're dealing with stuff that isn't that simple, but it could be simplified a tad bit more.
Overall the interface is quick, responsive, and works like it is supposed to, but it lacks direction and is mainly suited towards advanced users - which isn't really a bad thing.
GoldBug offers you top of the line messaging security for e-mail, IM, and chat. It's free to use, doesn't require installation, and has a ton of settings and features. Despite the fact that an average PC user wouldn't be able to operate GoldBug at all, it's still a very good program. The fact of the matter is, only those who would really need or want to use it are going to be the ones who will even be able to set it up.
- The interface is quite dated, and lacks direction for anyone who isn't familiar with the program
- Can be a bit buggy at times, but usually nothing too serious
Two other options would be ChatCrypt (an online solution), and Cryptocat (a Chrome extension), both of these are easier to use than GoldBug; however, they don't quite match the security and lack some of the additional features.
If you know how to use GoldBug, and have a reason to actually use it, than you're going to really enjoy it. For the basic PC user who doesn't need the extra security, you should probably avoid using this program because it will likely cause a headache for you - and you probably don't really need it.
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