|Original author(s)||Vector Creations Limited|
|Developer(s)||New Vector Limited trading as Element|
|Initial release||July 2016 (Beta)|
1.7.31 / 21 June 2021
1.7.31-rc.1 / 15 June 2021
|Platform||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Web platform|
|Available in||25 languages|
|Type||VoIP communications, instant messaging, Videoconferences, social media, and other App Integrations|
|License||Apache License 2.0|
Element (formerly Riot and Vector) is a free and open-source software instant messaging client implementing the Matrix protocol.
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.[non-primary source needed]
Element was originally known as Vector when it was released from beta in 2016. The app was renamed to Riot in September of the same year.
In 2016 the first implementation of the Matrix end-to-end encryption was implemented and rolled out as a beta to users. In May 2020, the developers announced enabling end-to-end encryption by default in Riot for new non-public conversations.
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.
In July 2020, Riot was renamed to Element.
In January 2021, Element was briefly suspended from Google Play Store in response to a report of user-submitted abusive content on Element's default server,
matrix.org. Element staff rectified the issue and the app was brought back to the Play Store.
Element is built with the Matrix React SDK, which is a React-based software development kit to ease the development of Matrix clients. Element is reliant on web technologies and uses Electron for bundling the app 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 and the free-software only F-Droid Archives, with minor modifications. For instance, the F-Droid version does not contain the proprietary Google Cloud Messaging plug-in.
Element is able to bridge other communications into the app via Matrix, including IRC, Slack, Telegram, Jitsi Meet and others. 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.[non-primary source needed]
Media compared Element to Slack, WhatsApp and other instant messaging clients.
In 2017, German computer magazine Golem.de called Element (then Riot) and Matrix server "mature" and "feature-rich", but criticized its key authentication at the time to be not user-friendly for communicatees owning multiple devices. A co-founder of the project, Matthew Hodgson, assured the key verification process was a "placeholder" solution to work on. In 2020, Element added key cross-signing to make the verification process simpler, and enabled end-to-end encryption by default.