Ukrainians Prepare for Internet Loss by Getting Apps for Offline, Private and Mesh Communications

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The main applications currently downloaded in Ukraine are Signal, the private messaging application, Bridgefy, which allows communication without the Internet via a mesh network, Maps.me, an offline mapping application, and several “walkie-talkie” applications which allow free communication. without registration or personal information.

In other words, Ukrainians are either preparing for the loss of the Internet in their country, or for the closure of free Internet behind a new digital iron curtain.

“Apps that top the rankings in Ukraine are walkie-talkie apps, VoIP apps, offline navigation apps, VPN apps, radio communication apps,” said Adam Blacker, Vice President of app analytics company Apptopia. noted today on Twitter. “Many of these apps allow offline communication via a traditional radio signal or via Bluetooth. These are apps that we normally see trending during natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes.

Russia invaded Ukraine, killing several soldiers and civilians, and sources told Forbes they expected Ukraine’s electricity and internet to fail. Parts of Odessa have already lost electricity.

Here are the ten best free apps per download so far:

Some of the apps, like Bridgefy, use Bluetooth to create a mesh network that doesn’t depend on a working internet and can’t be easily disrupted by authorities. Hong Kong protesters used it when China took tighter control of the city in 2019.

From my post at the time:

“The app can connect people via standard Bluetooth across an entire city, using a mesh network. Conversation is faster with nearby people, of course, within a hundred meters (330 feet), but you can also chat with people further afield. Your messages will simply “jump” through other Bridgefy users’ phones until they find your target. While you can chat privately with contacts, you can also broadcast to anyone within scope, even if it is not a contact.

Some of the apps are those that track planes, perhaps an unlikely successful attempt to see where the Russian Air Force is attacking.

Apps that receive fewer downloads are games, social media apps like Facebook, entertainment apps like TikTok, desktop apps like Zoom, and dating apps. All of this is understandable as the country and its citizens face violence and destruction.

The latest news is that Russian forces are advancing in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, while facing strong resistance from Ukrainian troops and civilian volunteers, while the European Union freezes Russian assets, including those belonging to Vladimir Putin. Additionally, Russia has been banned from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest and the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix has been cancelled.

For ongoing updates, check out this story:

MORE FORBESLive: Russia says it is ready to negotiate with Ukraine

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