Instant Messaging (IM) programs have certainly made their mark in our society, having pushed SMS (Short Messaging Service) on handsets to extinction along the way, although there is still some room left for SMS to move around (in places where there is no reliable mobile data connectivity), it is but a matter of time before IM apps and programs end up as the overwhelming norm worldwide. With so many different kinds of IM apps catering to various cultures and countries, one of the more popular ones worldwide would be WhatsApp. In fact, WhatsApp has recently hit a milestone - we are look at 1 billion users, who out of that figure, make 100 million calls every single day.
In other words, more than 1,100 calls are made over WhatsApp every single second, now how about that for popularity? Granted, my own experience with WhatsApp calls has not exactly been the paragon of clarity, as I find the likes of Skype better at its job, or perhaps it is simply my mobile carrier's fault that its 3G and 4G LTE performance does not live up to expectations as advertised. Over a decent Wi-Fi connection for both parties, WhatsApp calls are more or less indistinguishable from regular phone calls, apart from the odd lag here and there.
What makes WhatsApp stand out from the rest of the competition out there, such as Facebook Messenger, Kakao, Line and WeChat? Well, WhatsApp intends to position itself, and has been doing so, as being more than a mere messaging app. As part of an effort to promote its extra features, the folks over at WhatsApp have made an announcement, which is the huge popularity of its voice calling function that debuted slightly more than a year back.
The numbers presented here are no doubt impressive, although it is hardly surprising. Apart from that, with more than a billion users in the pipeline, this is more or less one of the biggest chat platforms around the globe. It would be wise for the executives over at the likes of Skype and Viber to look over their shoulders.
One ought to remember that WhatsApp was picked up by Facebook two years back in 2014, where the social networking giant forked out a whopping $22 billion for WhatsApp, allowing it to operate independently since then with co-founder and CE Jan Koum at the helm. WhatsApp is a giant over at countries such as India, Brazil, and Africa, although it does have its fair share of struggles in making a name for itself in the US, mainly because it is up against the likes of - can you say elder brother, Facebook Messenger, and Apple's iMessage.
Koum has America in his sights for WhatsApp, and shared with USA Today, "We're nowhere near that. But we hope that over a certain period of time we will get that critical mass." In order to achieve that, it will have plenty of work cut out for it, but taking into account the global domination of WhatsApp, it is but a matter of time before it conquers the symbolic US market where IM apps are concerned.