If you want to know why Facebook spent just one billion dollars shy of twenty Instagrams for WhatsApp, look no further than the instant messaging app's number of users. WhatsApp today announced that it now has over half a billion active users. This means that 50,000,000 have signed up since the company's acquisition two months ago and continue to use the app. That's a ton of communication, much of it in parts of the world where Facebook's footprint isn't as large.

WhatsApp1 WhatsApp2

According to WhatsApp's announcement, the growth was fastest in countries such as Mexico and Brazil, along with India and Russia. This is pretty exciting stuff for a company that wants a say in how the world interacts but seems to be struggling with coming up with innovative solutions itself. Facebook Home wasn't exactly a runaway success, and none of Facebook's Android apps, (be that the general Facebook app, Facebook Messenger, or the Facebook Pages Manager) look like they were designed by people who even know each other.

So kudos to WhatsApp for attracting people's attention. The developers are clearly doing something right.

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • Christofftofferson

    Computer support would make it way more awesome

    • http://rayshq.com/ Ray

      Agree. If a desktop app was released, I think it would kill pretty much anything else out there. This is the one and probably only reason I don't use it and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

      • ddpacino

        For me... the contacts aren't there.

  • Guest

    "This means that 50,000,000 have signed up" You're missing a zero.

    • McGuest

      You're missing reading comprehension.

    • brararsh

      You are missing the complete sentence "since the company's acquisition two months ago"

    • yobbei

      "This means that 50,000,000 have signed up since the company's acquisition two months ago and continue to use the app."

      please read carefully.

    • tmcb82

      ..."since the company's acquisition two months ago." Need to finish reading the sentence.

    • Amarus Kh

      You're missing more posts pointing out the rest of the sentence.

  • http://shywim.fr/ Matthieu Harlé

    I hate these iPhone emoji :(

    • http://twitter.com/anishbhalerao Anish Bhalerao

      These emoji are not iPhone emoji. Apple did not invent the emoji for you to call them that. Did Apple claim of "inventing" emojis as well?

      Emoji are proprietary from a Japanese company, and provides emoji emoticons to multiple messaging apps/services.

      • ddpacino

        You know exactly what he means. Shut it.

  • MirandaU

    Whatsapp is the worst.
    It's the Britta of IM apps.

  • hp420

    Ok, where are these numbers coming from? I don't know a single person outside the android uber-nerd community that even knows what whatsapp is, let alone anyone who uses it! I'm calling shenanigans!!!

    • Daniel Traynor

      Almost every single person in my contact list has WhatsApp and that's a good few hundred.
      You must be living in the mountains or something.

      • hp420

        I live near NY, I sync my FB contacts, and I still don't have a single user in the list with a whatsapp account...and that also is a few hundred. I really think these numbers are being padded

        • Dmitri Smirnov

          Well, you are an anomaly then. Here in europe, everyone and their pet monkey has whatsapp.

          • _artem_

            Most of the clever one's already deleted their wa account and moved to telegram

          • frafri

            I just renewed my license

          • _artem_

            I renewed mine in December but deleted account in Februar. Do you know what happens when you delete your account? Nothing. I had TB backups of my wa. Deleted account from wa settings. Then saw myself on my sister's wa contacts list. Restored the backups couple of days later and what I got? Tons of messages and then a pop-up that I have to confirm my number, but I still could read those messages that were sent after my account deletion. All my contacts didn't even realize that I deleted my account, they got no notification about that, they could still see me and send messages to me. Then I wrote an email to whatsapp support asking wtf is going on why my contacts still see me and don't even know that I deleted my account. And asked them to completely delete my account. Couple of hours later I disappeared from my contacts' wa contacts. So even when you delete your wa all the messages are still saved on wa/fb servers until you explicitly ask wa top completely delete your account.
            The most moronic thing about wa is that I have to send a paid sms from my phone number to my phone number. However they promote it to be completely free for a year. What does telegram when you create account? It seems sms to your number in order to confirm your account. It's completely free, without ads, WITH open-source phone/tablet client, WITH open-source desktop client, web-based client (works in browser), WITH open API for developers and everyone else, all your messages are stored encrypted on cloud, so you have all the files sent and all the messages accessible from any place

          • hp420

            The last time I checked was when they were bought a while back, and there were literally no contacts in my list on whatsapp. I just checked again and I have two....and one is my GV number, which I used to register last time I checked. Here in the real world we use this new-fangled tech we like to call SMS. It sort of makes whatsapp worthless when every carrier, even prepaid, offer unlimited sms and mms. I never understood why anyone would use these apps unless they are trying to hide their conversation from someone (wife, police, etc.) unless they don't have unlimited sms/mms. then I can understand perfectly well, but I see no other legitimate reason to use it....ever.

          • joshuamuthumani

            @hp420:disqus for folks who need to contact people around the world SMS doesn't make sense as it's proves too costly. Whatsapp is extremely useful in these cases. You seem to have a very narrow point of view!!! :)

          • hp420

            Narrow point of view? You know how many people outside my country I know well enough to talk to them? 0. So why should that occur to me? The last time I made an international call was 15 years ago....why would something that I literally never do ever be a concern in my mind? I'll admit that is a good use of the app, but to call me narrow minded just because of something that didn't occur to me is, in itself, narrow-minded.

          • joshuamuthumani

            @hp420 I said narrow point of view not narrow minded!!! your view on the uses of whatsapp were very limited again when you say you don't have folks doing international calls doesn't mean there aren't folks who don't. Just saying there are multiple use cases!!!

          • hp420

            a narrow point of view and being narrow minded are 100% identical. thses are two ways of saying the exact same thing. Also, something not occurring to someone does not make someone narrow minded, give them a narrow point of view....whatever way you want to say it. Lastly, I never said nobody converses internationally. I said I don't and that is why it didn't occur to me this is one use for the app....damn...did you even read my post, or are you completely unable to understand english? forget I even mentioned it....FFS!!!

          • _artem_

            How long is one sms? 164 chars? Then just add Russian keyboard layout (Cyrillic letters) and just put one character - you are automatically limited to 30 or 60 chars. I have 50 free web sms included in my data plan (they are sent over internet). But I can only send them to German numbers, to USA and to Canada. Can't send them to Russia or Ukraine. And even when I send to a Russian contact living in Germany (to German number) using Cyrillic letters all he/she gets is "???" Instead of Cyrillic letters. This stupid web sms pool can't even send in Unicode so no letter is readable. When I send an ordinary paid sms (not one of those web sms) I can send Cyrillic letters but I'm limited to 30 or 60 characters. So the only way to send messages in my native language and for free are services like whatsapp, telegram or whatsoever

          • Roh_Mish

            I have a good plan where I get 800 SMS free but many people here have to pay for SMS.
            And in India everybody (literally everybody) uses whatsapp

          • http://the-jade-domain.com Jaime J. Denizard

            WhatsApp sends messages over the internet, like Hangouts, Facebook Messenger and all those other IP-based messaging systems do. So what's the advantage for me you ask? Not needing to have a steady cellphone signal to receive and send out messages. Oh and also being able to send/receive messages from my tablet, though I don't know if WhatsApp does that since I don't use WhatsApp.

          • hp420

            Like you said...just like hangouts. Assuming you're using android or google services in any way in the US (does hangouts support any other countries??) you've already got a hangouts account automatically because of your google account...so why should anyone want an extra account on a service that offers a tiny percentage of what hangouts does?

            I'm not saying any of the points made above are invalid, but it seems that you are using it instead of all the other options that are directly in front of you, and you are even signed up for, by default. If I'm correct, in your case, whatsapp is completely redundant with like 15 other messaging services you (presumably) already use...so what does it offer you that hangouts, fb messenger, aim, msn, etc. don't already offer? You say the advantage is not needing a steady signal: 1. you need some sort of web to use whatsapp. It doesn't magically send an IP message with no web service. 2. sms/mms will work without a STEADY signal. All you need is a few seconds with an extremely weak signal to send/receive any messages sitting in the queue

          • http://the-jade-domain.com Jaime J. Denizard

            Hangouts is actually my main method of communication with my close friends and immediate family, but it took some time and insisting to make that transition from SMS to Hangouts. Thankfully there was only one iOS user among them so I only had to convince one person to actually install an app, the rest of them have Nexus 4s. (One of the advantages of being the person they come to for cellphone purchasing advice :P)

            The rest of the world I communicate via SMS with, and some via Facebook Messenger if I happen to be on Facebook at the time.

            I'm totally with you dude, I prefer Hangouts over any other messaging system, the problem is not everyone is using it. That's why WhatsApp is so popular...it has an insanely huge user-base (mostly not in the US from what I can tell).

            Oh another MAJOR 'feature' for me that I forgot to mention which makes me prefer Hangouts over everything else is the fact that I don't have to use my phone to reply to messages, I can reply from my computer. :) That's something that's very important to me since I work from home and spend most of my time in front of my computer. I hate it when people send me an SMS because I have to pick up my phone and deal with a (relatively) tiny touchscreen keyboard.

            As far as the steady signal thing, maybe I expressed myself incorrectly or just failed to express my complete thought on that matter. What I meant to say is that I don't need a steady cellphone signal, since as you said, all of these IP-based messaging system just need SOME kind of access to the internet. So basically all I need is a good Wi-Fi signal, which is almost always available to me and is orders of magnitude more reliable than cellphone signal is here at my home (thanks TMo).

            Also I'm sorry to say but my experience with MMS has been horrible when I don't have a good signal. Sometimes it takes 5-10 minutes for me to get an MMS, as opposed to getting a picture over Hangouts (when on Wi-Fi) which takes seconds. That's a great reason to never want to use SMS/MMS ever, wouldn't you say? :)

    • cdlq456

      Uhm, where do you live? In my country even my grandmother uses WhatsApp.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        In Russia for example WhatsApp is non existent. Heck, some people here still use ICQ even!
        But most of the IM is replaced by our Facebook clone, the Vkontakte social network, so...

        • _artem_

          Not true. Lots of Russians use whatsapp.
          Btw there are still those who use mIRC

          • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

            I am yet too see at least one person who uses WhatsApp

        • ahem

          Well, lots of things are non-existent in Russia.

        • Önder Çatalkaya

          Use Telegram then. Founders of Vkontakte and Telegram are the same.

    • wef

      You're right. You and the 10 d*ckheads who live next to you, are representative of 7 billion humans.

      • hp420

        right....because I only know people who live within 10 feet of my house....fucking troglodite!

  • _artem_

    They lie! There are at least 10 people I made completely switch to telegram last 2 months

    • Alexander Fuchs


      • theunknown

        Who is 'Who the Fuck' and why does he care?

  • frafri

    what feature should whatsapp have to be "the one"? with so many to chose..

  • 16Bitz0r

    One day I'll understand how this became one of the most popular services ever. It barely contains any customizations (bulky UI, the old dark/grey one was much better), it doesn't even manage to receive/send messages immediately (sometimes I get messages only when I launch the app, which is about 3-4 hours after they were sent) and it's not even free.
    Telegram seems to do much better job than this joke when it comes to "real time" behaviour.

    • mastermind777

      It was early, and had a very low barrier to entry. At a time when most apps make you make an account, WhatsApp used the phone number you already had. It's meant to be more like SMS than internet messaging from the start, and SMS is more widespread.

    • Martheen Cahya Paulo

      Sounds like your phone's GCM heartbeat is borked

  • Android Developer

    One of the worst chatting apps these days, that keeps getting popular because of its huge user base.
    It has so many missing features compared to the others:
    1. not cross platform. Doesn't even support tablets or more than one phone.
    2. not free anymore.
    3. doesn't store images & videos on the cloud. fills your device storage instead, and sometimes there are duplicate files.
    4. no searching of text.
    5. restrictions of what to send and how many files.
    6.notifications bugs (example: when you remove them, they keep coming back till you open the app)
    7. messages sometimes arrive really late or in the wrong order , especially when you send images.
    8. no video/audio calls.
    9. doesn't show the real time messages have arrived to the other persons .

    • Sahil Chaturvedi

      4. You can search text.
      7. Never had this issue.

      • Android Developer

        4. I meant searching of text like on Gmail. go to the root of the chats, and try to search across all chats. you can't. you need to go to each chat , and search there, one by one.
        7. maybe they fixed it. I remember a time that they really annoyed me telling me (via notifications) the internet is off. Of course I know it's off - I turned it off. thankfully they removed this thing.

    • RajivSK

      #2. You don't 'really' have to pay. If you just don't pay it will be renewed anyway. Mine just got renewed free of charge.

      However, it's UI is horrendous and I'd love a web client or browser plugin. Not that it matters, literally everyone is on whatsapp over here so switching is out of the question.

      • Android Developer

        new users need to pay, according to what I've read.
        I can live with the UI, but they should really catch up to the other apps.

  • Calvin Uijlen

    Worst IM app ever.. I removed it and replaced it with Hangouts

    • ha

      LOL. Because Hangouts is the worst IM app ever.

      • Calvin Uijlen

        Hangouts is cross platform (tablets / PC), Whatsapp not.
        Hangouts is free, Whatsapp not.
        Hangouts stores images in the cloud, Whatsapp does not.
        Hangouts sends images uncompressed, Whatsapp does not.
        Hangouts support video calls, Whatsapp does not.

        • http://the-jade-domain.com Jaime J. Denizard

          I agree with everything you said and I love the fact that you're standing up for Hangtous but I have to say. the fact that Hangouts stores images uncompressed is wrong. I've sent pictures to friends over Hangouts before and they are clearly compressed.

          • Calvin Uijlen

            About the uncompressed images, do you have Google+ auto backup enabled?
            Are the images compressed on mobile, PC or both?
            I was talking about images saved to the Google+ Hangouts album, those images do not seem compressed to me.

          • http://the-jade-domain.com Jaime J. Denizard

            The ones in the Google+ Hangouts albums are still compressed.

            Check this screenshot out that I took with my Nexus 4:

            As you can see, that picture's resolution is 533x888 even though the Nexus 4's resolution is WAY higher than that.

            Also no, I don't have Google+ Auto Backup enabled, I use Dropbox's Camera Upload feature instead. I don't think that has to do with the pictures you send over Hangouts though.

          • Calvin Uijlen

            That's strange, I have a screenshot here which is uncompressed..
            (sent via WiFi)

            And here a photo which is uncompressed.

            (sent via 3G/4G)
            Those images are both from a Hangouts album on my Google+.

            I am not sure if it has to do with Google+ Auto Backup, but Hangouts also saves the photos to Google+, so that could be the issue.
            You could enable Google+ Auto Backup to see if that resolves the problem.

          • http://the-jade-domain.com Jaime J. Denizard

            Both of your pictures are about the same resolution as mine, which seems to indicate they are indeed compressed. Or maybe compressed is not the right word...they were resized let's say. Would you agree or is your phone's screen really 500x889? :P

          • Calvin Uijlen

            That is strange... In Google+ the resolution is 1080x1920 for the screenshot and an even higher resolution for the photo..
            The link suggests otherwise, but if you download the photo, you'll see the image has the original resolution and when you zoom on the screenshot/photo in Google+, it loads.
            I think they load the image 500x889 and when you zoom, they load the original image and when downloading, you also get the original image.

          • http://the-jade-domain.com Jaime J. Denizard

            Ah, it seems you're right. When I go to download the pictures from my Hangouts convo with a friend, it has the original resolution. Thanks for the tip!

            Do you know if there's a way to see the uncompressed version from the Android app? Or is it PC-only?

          • Calvin Uijlen

            I think you can see the uncompressed version on mobile from Google+ app (Photos).
            I don't know if you can see them directly via the Hangouts app.

          • http://the-jade-domain.com Jaime J. Denizard

            I can only see my own pictures in the Google+ app, not the ones I've sent other people via Hangouts. :(

          • Calvin Uijlen

            Try this.

            Google + app -> Photos -> Albums -> The Hangout album -> Tadaaa (?)

          • http://the-jade-domain.com Jaime J. Denizard

            I only see my own lol. Don't worry about it bro, it's all good. Thanks for humoring me, I appreciate it.

  • Debadatta Bose

    Anyone thinking Telegram is the only alternative to WhatsApp should try out hike. You shall never ever regret it. You can send word documents and stuff though it, and the restriction is 100MB. hike FTW!

    • Android Developer

      can't you already send whatever you wish via Telegram?
      what are the restrictions there?

  • drwho

    Whatsup, who?

  • John Lord

    love whatsapp, on a daily basis i send approximately 200-300 messages, i think its about time the whatsapp UI for android to get an overhaul tho, its starting to look dated, the iOS version looks much classier

  • a_broken_star

    Try Hike !! I am not associated with them, i just want everone to know about this wonderful app.. Some unique features...
    1) Great UI
    2) Diffrent Chat themes for diffrent conversations
    3) Great set of Stickers
    4) Shows when msg is sent, received and "read" by the recipent
    5) In group conversation, shows which of the group contacts have read your msg and which have not
    6) Send your msg as sms to contacts who are offline
    7) profile status, moods.

    etc etc.. just give it a shot guys... you'll love it....

  • Elbouhali Mohamed

    thanks for sharing this post bu i thing that telegram is better than whatsapp it`s has many features read this article http://whatsappbonus.blogspot.com/