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HindustanTimes Sat,22 Nov 2014

Apps-Updates

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WhatsApp hits 600 million active users
AFP
August 25, 2014
First Published: 17:43 IST(25/8/2014)
Last Updated: 17:46 IST(25/8/2014)

It has only taken the Facebook-owned social messaging app four months to add another 100 million active users, proving that Mark Zuckerberg was right when he said that the app was on its way to connecting 1 billion people around the world.

WhatsApp's CEO and founder Jan Koum tweeted the achievement on Monday and in doing so highlighted that the number represents people who actually use the app on a regular basis, rather than how many times the title has been downloaded and installed on a tablet or smartphone.

When the company was snapped up by Facebook in February for $19 billion, many thought that it would mark the beginning of the end for the social messaging app, as a connection with Facebook could cause users to desert the platform. However, it appears nothing could be further from the truth.

And with 600 million users sending texts, images, videos and emojis on a regular basis, it is now the world's most popular social messaging app. According to the Next Web, WeChat -- WhatsApp's closest competitor -- currently only has 438 million users and the majority of those are based in China.

According to Deloitte, the rise of social messaging apps, from Apple's iMessage to WhatsApp has created a new way of communicating, which in many cases leads to teenagers sending 100,000+ messages a year, many of which are single words, individual characters or an emoji. In its most recent report on the state of the UK's social messaging and consumer technology landscape, the consultancy firm forecasts that 300 billion instant messages will have been sent over the course of 2014, double the amount sent in 2013.

The report, previewed at the start of August and due to be released in full in September, found that the average UK smartphone owners sends 46 instant messages a day, partly because they're ‘free' -- i.e., they use data allowance or the wi-fi network and partly as a replacement for a spoken conversation. People can converse back and forth via texts, images, videos and stickers in the same way that they would have had a spoken conversation in the early days of the mobile phone contract with free voice minutes.

And even though voice calling may be going out of fashion, WhatsApp is currently working on bringing VoIP (making a phone call over an internet connection) to the app.


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