Element (software)

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Element textlogo.svg
Screenshot of Element as Riot 1.0.1
Screenshot of Element as Riot 1.0.1
Other names
  • Riot (2016–2020)
  • Vector[1][2] (2016)
Original author(s)Vector Creations Limited[1]
Developer(s)New Vector Limited[3] trading as Element
Initial releaseJuly 2016 (Beta)
Stable release
1.7.16 / 21 December 2020; 31 days ago (2020-12-21)[4]
Preview release
1.7.16-rc.1 / 16 December 2020; 36 days ago (2020-12-16)[5]
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Written inJavaScript, ObjectiveC, Swift, Java, Kotlin
PlatformWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Web platform
Available in25 languages[6]
List of languages
Basque, Bulgarian, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Dutch, English (UK), English (US), Esperanto, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Latvian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish
TypeVoIP communications, instant messaging, Videoconferences,[7] social media, and other App Integrations
LicenseApache License 2.0[8]
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata

Element (formerly Riot and Vector) is a free and open-source software instant messaging client implementing the Matrix protocol.[9]

Element supports end-to-end encryption, groups and sharing of files between users. It is available as a web application, as desktop apps for all major operating systems and as a mobile app for Android and iOS.[7][10][11][non-primary source needed]


Element was originally known as Vector when it was released from beta[1][2] in 2016.[12] The app was renamed to Riot in September of the same year.[13]

The letter "R" in a round blue shape.
Logo of Riot from 2019 to 2020.

In 2016 the first implementation of the Matrix end-to-end encryption was implemented and rolled out as a beta to users.[14] In May 2020, the developers announced enabling end-to-end encryption by default in Riot for new non-public conversations.[15]

In April 2019, a new application was released on the Google Play Store in response to cryptographic keys used to sign the Riot Android app being compromised.[16]

In July 2020, Riot was renamed to Element.[17]


Element is built with the Matrix React SDK,[18] which is a React-based software development kit to ease the development of Matrix clients. Element is mostly built around web technologies and also uses Electron, a software framework to create desktop applications from web applications, to distribute their desktop clients for Windows, MacOS and Linux. The Android and iOS clients are developed and distributed with their respective platform tools.

On Android the app is available both in the Google Play Store[19] and the free-software only F-Droid[20] Archives, with minor modifications. For instance the F-Droid version does not come with the proprietary Google Cloud Messaging plug-in.[21]


Element is able to bridge other communications into the app via Matrix,[9][22] such as IRC, Slack, Telegram, Jitsi Meet and others.[citation needed] Also it integrates voice and video peer-to-peer and group chats via WebRTC.

Element supports end-to-end encryption (E2EE) of both one-to-one and group chats.[7][22][non-primary source needed]


Element being the Matrix client with the most development has been recommended as a starting point for new Matrix users, even by Matrix itself.[23] In the media, Riot was sometimes perceived as an alternative to Slack,[1][2] WhatsApp[2] or other instant messaging clients.[24]

In 2017, German computer magazine Golem.de called Riot (and Matrix server) as "mature" and "feature-rich", while criticizing its key authentication at the time to be "anything but user-friendly" for many communicatees with multiple devices each. A co-founder of the project, Matthew Hodgson, assured the key verification process was a "placeholder" solution to work on.[24] In 2020, a cross-signing feature was added to the apps to make the verification process simpler.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Riot wants to be like Slack, but with the flexibility of an underlying open source platform". TechCrunch. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "Open Source und verschlüsselt: Das steckt hinter dem Slack-Rivalen Riot". t3n News (in German). Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  3. ^ https://element.io/copyright
  4. ^ v1.7.16, New Vector, 21 December 2020, retrieved 1 January 2021 – via GitHub
  5. ^ v1.7.16-rc.1, New Vector, 16 December 2020, retrieved 1 January 2021 – via GitHub
  6. ^ "matrix-org/matrix-react-sdk". GitHub. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  7. ^ a b c "Features | Riot". about.riot.im. Retrieved 2 January 2020.[primary source]
  8. ^ "Riot.im License". Github. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Riot: A Distributed Way of Having IRC and VOIP Client and Home Server". itsfoss.com. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  10. ^ F-Droid. "Element (Riot.im)". f-droid.org. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  11. ^ PrivacyTools. "Real-Time Communication". PrivacyTools. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  12. ^ Riot.im (9 June 2016). "Say Hello To Vector!". Riot.im. Retrieved 18 October 2018.[primary source]
  13. ^ Riot.im (19 September 2016). "Let's Riot!". Riot.im. Retrieved 18 October 2018.[primary source]
  14. ^ Riot.im (21 November 2016). "Riot releases end-to-end encryption: get ready to chat securely!". Medium. Retrieved 18 October 2018.[primary source]
  15. ^ a b Hodgson, Matthew (6 May 2020). "Riot Web 1.6, RiotX Android 0.19 & Riot iOS 0.11 — E2E Encryption by Default & Cross-signing is here!!". The Riot.im Blog. Retrieved 19 July 2020.[primary source]
  16. ^ "Riot.im Android security update". Retrieved 1 May 2019.[primary source]
  17. ^ Le Pape, Amandine (15 July 2020). "Welcome to Element!". Retrieved 15 July 2020.[primary source]
  18. ^ "vector-im/riot-web". GitHub. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  19. ^ "Riot.im - open team collaboration - Apps on Google Play". play.google.com. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  20. ^ "F-Droid Site". Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  21. ^ "FAQ-entry". Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  22. ^ a b Kuketz, Mike. "Element: Messaging über die Matrix – Messenger Teil7". Kuketz IT-Security Blog (in German). Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  23. ^ "Introducing Matrix Widgets - including Jitsi video conferencing!". Matrix.org. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  24. ^ a b Weisensee, Jan (7 March 2017). "Echtzeitkommunikation ausprobiert: Willkommen in der Matrix". Golem.de (in German). Retrieved 4 November 2018.

External links[edit]