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.
Last month Facebook bought WhatsApp for way too much money, making the app's developers very wealthy individuals. This deal, theoretically, gives Facebook access to the data provided by the app's nearly half a billion users. The companies behind the social network and the instant messenger have both promised that WhatsApp will continue to operate autonomously, but this hasn't completely alleviated privacy concerns. Thus WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum has shared a blog post aimed at "setting the record straight."
In it he states:
WhatsApp, the incredibly popular messaging service recently acquired by Facebook for 19 Instagrams dropped an update for Android users today, bringing the app up to version 2.11.186. The update brings to the Play Store features beta users have enjoyed since version 2.11.181 earlier this month.
Users who grab the update will enjoy new privacy settings for "last seen," profile photo, and status (allowing users to limit who can see each), a camera shortcut (a 1x1 widget for quick photo capture), and several other UI improvements.
Now that Facebook has paid $19 billion for WhatsApp, what's next for the mobile messaging app? Voice calls, apparently. According to TechCrunch, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum announced the upcoming feature at Mobile World Congress earlier today. With this new functionality, the app will even more directly compete with the likes of Skype, KakaoTalk, Line, and Viber. Though, without video support, it still won't be an all-encompassing solution just yet.
Facebook's $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp was certainly yesterday's biggest story when it came to web and social news. But according to Amir Efrati of The Information, there's an interesting backstory that didn't make it into the financial pages. He reports that six months ago, Google offered to pay WhatsApp to notify the larger company if they received an acquisition offer from anyone else. While an exact amount hasn't been disclosed, the deal was reportedly worth "millions of dollars."
The Information's anonymous sources say that WhatsApp declined the offer - surely a hard pill to swallow for a startup company, even one with the fantastic number of users that WhatsApp boasts.
Speak softly and carry a big user base. It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but that might as well be the unofficial motto of WhatsApp. The cross-platform messaging service has been quietly spreading over the last couple of years, coming to every major mobile platform and gaining over 300 million active monthly users, according to AllThingsD. What's next for the quiet revolution? Voice communication.
Well, sort of - it's more like a short voicemail message, not a live two-way conversation.
We've been seeing leak after leak about Google's rumored unified messaging service. Now, as more details get seemingly confirmed and and we even get a look at the possibly near-finished app, clearly this is the time for Google to acquire a competing IM service, right? Well, not so much, according to AllThingsD. As it turns out, Mountain View is not about to buy WhatsApp, a company that makes a product that Google is currently nearly done building itself.
Popular cross-platform messenger service WhatsApp is a little behind the times. It's part of the depressingly huge collection of Android apps that ape their iOS counterparts, never aspiring to anything higher. That appears to be close to an end, as the latest beta release of the Android client has a new user interface, and it conforms to the Holo guidelines that the rest of your phone (hopefully) uses. Google+ user Jose Luis de la Torre took some shots of the updated interface.
Who uses WhatsApp Messenger? From The look of the Play Store listing, a damn lot of people. Considering it's so popular, it's probably a pretty secure app, right? Think again.
WhatsApp actually sends all chats in plaintext, so anyone on the same Wi-Fi network can easily pull your entire conversation - including pictures and videos - straight out of the air. And now, that process is even easier than ever thanks to a new app called WhatsAppSniffer.