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WhatsApp Is Well On Its Way To A Billion Users

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the getting-big dept.

Businesses 116

redletterdave (2493036) writes "In just two months since Facebook dropped $19 billion to buy WhatsApp, the five-year-old mobile messaging app on Tuesday announced its its active user base has grown to more than half a billion people. This is not the first time that an app has seen a major pop in users after it was acquired by Facebook: When Facebook bought Instagram in April 2012, the service boasted some 30 million users. In one month after the deal, Instagram gained 20 million new users. By July, Instagram grew to 80 million active users. WhatsApp seems to be having a similar growth spurt, gaining roughly 25 million users each month since the Facebook deal was announced."

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Fuck Beta (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46829269)

Fuck Beta!

Re:Fuck Beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46832839)

yes, first thing this morning I also got my share...
why the fuck someone at slashdot still think that most will be interested in this monstrous beta? ... and every (other) day or so, they push some secret buttons to ignore cookies, settings and preferences to land users on the FUCKING beta?
they are free to go ahead but l PLEASE leave me out of it.
as said before, every time a get landed on beta, I will add 10 posts to each topic that day just boldly stating

    FUCK the FUCKING beta!!!!!!!!!

That's wierd... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46829273)

It seems that when Facebook buys a company, they gain more users instead of less... This is going against what almost everyone here predicted would happen with both services: That no one wanted Facebook in their lives...

Not really true (3, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 6 months ago | (#46829301)

This is going against what almost everyone here predicted would happen with both services: That no one wanted Facebook in their lives...

I think that statement is accurate.

What did not happen was those apps becoming Facebook. If you didn't know Facebook owned them, you might not guess it otherwise... Facebook has only been used to steer users to those apps, not to change what they do.

The same will happen for Oculus.

Re:Not really true (1)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 6 months ago | (#46829363)

I simply don't trust a company that farms out their userbase's private information for monetary gain, and swats down class-action lawsuits brought by its userbase one [wikipedia.org] after another [fraleyface...lement.com] . While Google claims to have an unofficial "do-no-evil" policy, Facebook makes no such claim and their actions generally follow suit.

Re:Not really true (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 6 months ago | (#46829447)

I simply don't trust a company that farms out their userbase's private information for monetary gain,

But the point is they have not done that with either of those two companies (at least not any more than those companies were already doing).

Your mistake is in treating all subsets of a company equally based on what one part is doing. If you want to see change, reward what a company does that you like, do not instead curse them forever for the mistake of one part. Otherwise you will never see change because there is no motivation nor visibility to what people want more.

Re:Not really true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46830987)

I'm one of those who wanted nothing to do with facebook whatsoever. I wanted nothing to do with whatsapp either to tell the thruth, but I fell to friends pressures after reading the whatsapp terms of service and privacy policy which I found quite acceptable(in contrast to google and facebook ones, for example). This happened before the acquisition.

I'm not happy with the acquisition, and while I'm not canceling my whatsapp account(at least, not for now) I've learned a lesson I should already have known: you can't thrust any corporate, ever. You can't thrust them not to sell their business to someone you don't like or distrust. So, from now on, I'll avoid letting me lured by acceptable policies and friends pressure.

My whatsapp account will be deleted, like many others, just not right now.

Re:Not really true (2)

tompaulco (629533) | about 6 months ago | (#46829535)

While Google claims to have an unofficial "do-no-evil" policy, Facebook makes no such claim and their actions generally follow suit.

So, then Facebook is to be commended for doing evil and not claiming otherwise, while Google is to be lambasted for claiming to not do evil and then doing it.

IAWTP (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46829885)

Yep. That's why I no longer use google.

Re:Not really true (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 6 months ago | (#46831003)

Facebook do not "farm out" people's private data. Go sign up to be an advertiser and try to obtain people's private data. You can't.

As to the second thing - wat? Do you expect any company that's the target of a class action lawsuit to simply not defend it? Also what's up with this "class action lawsuit brought by its userbase" nonsense? I'm a Facebook user and I never brought a class action suit against anyone. I think you mean, "class action lawsuit brought by lawyers who claim to represent Facebook users".

Re:Not really true (4, Funny)

gerf (532474) | about 6 months ago | (#46829697)

Given these rates of increase, I fully expect 10 Billion active users by the end of the decade, and the stock price should reflect that.

Three problems, at least, with the number of users (3, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 6 months ago | (#46830165)

Exactly. Funny and not funny.

Why do people accept what Facebook says about the number of users? There are problems: 1) No independent verification. 2) Conflict of interest. If Facebook claims more users, Facebook makes more money. 3) Many "users" are people who merely tried something and never came back.

Re:Three problems, at least, with the number of us (3, Insightful)

korbulon (2792438) | about 6 months ago | (#46830949)

This observation deserves beaucoup points. More and more we live in a world where headlines and press releases are treated as news, accepted prima facie without much vetting or scepticism, a lot of it propagated by websites trying to generate clicks. Slashdot for one is certainly not blameless in this racket. Digging a little behind this story, does it mention how many people have stopped using WhatsApp since the buyout? Fairly mum about that, but pretty sure theyr'e still counting those people too.

Like so much in IT, it's hard to tell what's what and what's not.

Re:Three problems, at least, with the number of us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46830997)

Good observation...I myself see various whatsapp accounts for people I have in my phonebook which have actually stopped using it, in fact have just tried it for a few days and stopped. Most people will just stop using a service and will not clean up their accounts and delete/disable them.

These companies know this and take advantage of it.

Re:Three problems, at least, with the number of us (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 6 months ago | (#46831505)

in fact, one day Facebook might decide to give every FB user a free WhatsApp account, "for their own convenience".

Suddenly WA gains several billion users, including those who do not use FB anymore. Share price goes up, Slashdot talks about it, Reality continues to give not one fuck.

Re:That's wierd... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46829403)

I don't know why anyone predicted that because it makes total sense.

WhatsApp's user base is primarily overseas, Facebook bought them specifically because of their ability to build a user base quickly in countries that Facebook has struggled to mimic. WhatsApp does have a US presence but it's not nearly their biggest area. With all the publicity the Facebook deal got in the US, I bet that the largest segment of those new users is US users who hadn't really used the service prior, wondering what all the fuss is about.

Re:That's wierd... (1)

Chas (5144) | about 6 months ago | (#46829573)

It seems that when Facebook buys a company, they gain more users instead of less... This is going against what almost everyone here predicted would happen with both services: That no one wanted Facebook in their lives...

There's a sucker born every minute
- Often Misattributed to P.T. Barnum

And whoever DID actually codify that was a pessimist. Suckers are WAY more prolific than that...

Re:That's wierd... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46829673)

Bill Birnes likes stupid people.

Re:That's wierd... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46830839)

Eh, w/e. I signed up for WhatsApp because I had no idea what it was, and wanted to play with it to see what all the fuss was about.

Then I uninstalled it and have not used it since.

Don't be fooled by these numbers.

Re:That's wierd... (1)

allo (1728082) | about 6 months ago | (#46831273)

I guess facebook is calculating the numbers in a different way. When there is a faint trace of a user (i.e. an uploaded addressbook entry, which could be conntected to a user ASAP he installs WA), its a user. Other companies are more conservative and call only people actually (still) using their app users.

Re:That's wierd... (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46831625)

Oh, that's easy to explain: Everyone's a user!

Everyone who ever tried WhatsApp is. Everyone who turned away from it when they were scooped up by Farcebook still is. And everyone who ever clicked any kind of button concerning it in FB.

It's a bit like how Microsoft counts its users. Everyone who ever bought a system where some of their junk was preinstalled is a user, whether he still uses it or whether the first thing he did after unpacking was to wipe the HD.

What?? (3, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | about 6 months ago | (#46829291)

This looks like a "messaging" app. It seems like the only point is to get around the few remaining billing plans on the planet that don't have unlimited text messaging. Am I insane thinking that this market niche will only exist for another year, at most? I personally don't know anybody who has to pay for messaging, but I understand that some people in other countries still have to (for now)...

Re:What?? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 6 months ago | (#46829335)

I agree - I used to be on IM with a number of my friends, but now all communication with them is via texting - SMS or FaceTime.

Re: What?? (4, Interesting)

corychristison (951993) | about 6 months ago | (#46829337)

I personally use Telegram (https://telegram.org/), and have for quite some time now. I like it for various reasons. Mainly its open source, and multi-client.

What I /don't/ like about plain jane SMS is I can't sit back at my desk and message people back who message me. I have to completely break my submersion into my computer, pick up my phone, and type on a tiny (virtual) keyboard. Drives me absolutely insane.

Re: What?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46830091)

I agree! Quite frankly, typing on my smart phone is about my least favorite thing in the world. I setup Google Voice to get around it all. Being able to respond to sms from my browser pretty much makes my nipples hard.

Re: What?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46830561)

I send SMS messages all the time to/from email. The trick is to know the email address "gateway". For example, verizon is "vztext.com" EG: mailto://5108675309@vtext.com will send a message to the infamous "867-5309" in Los Angeles, CA.

I use this trick for receiving network monitor notifications.... a simple email sent to my phonenumber@vtext.com is sent to my phone.

Re: What?? (1)

adam.jimenez (904480) | about 6 months ago | (#46830947)

If you're on Android you can text from your PC using Mightytext http://mightytext.net/ [mightytext.net]

Re: What?? (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 6 months ago | (#46830975)

Can't you do that any more?

I remember my old Nokia could be controlled by a cable to read and send texts.

Re: What?? (1)

Cley Faye (1123605) | about 6 months ago | (#46831069)

Can't you do that any more?

I remember my old Nokia could be controlled by a cable to read and send texts.

Unfortunately, today's phone can do that without a cable, making the process less complicated.

Re: What?? (1)

Threni (635302) | about 6 months ago | (#46831365)

> Unfortunately, today's phone can do that without a cable, making the process less
> complicated.

That is a shame. Oh well, there are always other uses for cable fetishists, such as charging. For now, anyway.

Re: What?? (1)

Cley Faye (1123605) | about 6 months ago | (#46831793)

Yes, for now [qiwireless.com] .

Re: What?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46832411)

Get a Moto X and you can use Motorola Connect and text from your computer (and get caller ID and check battery status). Or use Google Voice.

Re: What?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46832823)

agreed! I have this problem all the time too. We need personal computers that work under water to become more mainstream and available.

Re: What?? (1)

pe1rxq (141710) | about 6 months ago | (#46833165)

You might want to checkout QuickMSG (Disclaimer: I wrote it and this is a shameless plug). http://quickmsg.vreeken.net/ [vreeken.net]
It is open source, decentralized, secure, and not tied to a phone number since it uses email as a transport medium.
Right now I only have an android app and a command line version for linux (I can only do so much at a time), but the protocol is completly open. Basicly PGPmime with a messaging format on top.

Re:What?? (2)

rallytales (2959345) | about 6 months ago | (#46829355)

There are plenty of people using prepaid plans which do not come with unlimited text messages.

Re:What?? (1)

byornski (1022169) | about 6 months ago | (#46829917)

Literally a lie in any civilized country....

Re:What?? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46830037)

Literally a lie in any civilized country....

True, but that's because there really aren't any civilized countries on planet Earth

Re:What?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46830613)

NZ's plans are mostly not unlimited text, it is available but for a higher price.

Re:What?? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 6 months ago | (#46830899)

No prepaid plans in the UK come with unlimited texting. You can generally buy a bundle that includes it, but a bundle that provides more data than it's easy to use on a smartphone (without tethering) is generally cheaper and allows you to use email and the web as well as IM apps. I generally pay £1-2/month, and it costs as much in terms of data to have an entire day of IM connectivity as it does to send one SMS.

Re:What?? (2)

linuxci (3530) | about 6 months ago | (#46831363)

No prepaid plans in the UK come with unlimited texting.

Almost all the plans on giffgaff.com include unlimited texting. Those from £12/month include unlimited data too.

Re:What?? (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 6 months ago | (#46831935)

I switched from giffgaff when they put up their prices and engaged in misleading advertising ('look, we're cheaper than everyone else if you pick the really expensive plans that you have to dig around on their web sites to even find and ignore the ones that are the same price we were offering before we put prices up!'). I guess the difference is what you count as a plan. I regard their goody bags as an add-on, not a plan. On a pre-pay plan you don't get anything included - that's the point. Given that Giffgaff's cheapest goody bag (which expires after a month) costs what I spend on my phone in 3-4 months, I think it reinforces my point. You get unlimited texts only if you buy them in bulk. The 200 minutes and 250MB that the £7.50 goody bag gives you would cost me £8.50, so if I used that much it would be a good deal (although I'd then be paying 7p/minute more for calls above that, so I'd have to be making close to exactly 200 minutes of calls a month for it to make sense). I spend under £2/month on my phone currently though, so it's a pretty poor deal with that in mind.

Re:What?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46832375)

Have you ever been outside your own country?

Re:What?? (1)

DaHat (247651) | about 6 months ago | (#46830363)

And some post paid plans... I'm on Verizon and demand a quarter from the sender for each text message they send me.

I can do all of the IP based messaging services I care about on my phone (and tablet, and laptop, and desktop)... so when someone reverts to SMS and costs me money (because I refuse to get a texting plan given my unlimited data plan and access to far more services via it)... I insist they reimburse me for the expense they caused.

Re:What?? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 6 months ago | (#46830447)

I'm one of them. Back when I set up the plan, unlimited texts added ten or twenty bucks (I forget which) a month to my bill. It was and is cheaper to spend twenty cents each for the couple of dozen texts I send/receive each year.

Not everyone with a cell phone is addicted to text messages.

Re:What?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46829425)

It really is mostly for countries other than the U.S.A., which also means its customers are commercially much less valuable once the $1/year (after a free year) thing isn't enough.

Unrelated to that point, isn't one of the likely explanations that Facebook is much better at padding its user numbers than smaller companies with less practice?

Re:What?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46829551)

It is for all countries ESPECIALLY the US. travelling to the US is the main reason I started using it as paying the insane call and SMS rates on prepaid cards or god forbid global roaming their was stupidly expensive while getting a prepaid with some basic data was cheap.

Re:What?? (1)

byornski (1022169) | about 6 months ago | (#46829939)

Pretty much any deal in the UK comes with unlimited texting in the UK or extraordinarily cheap.

Re:What?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46830251)

no it doesn't. Anyone that messages beyond the countries borders gets hit for very high fees in the UK. whatsapp is a great way around that, at least it was for me when I was there last year, I only use whatsapp when I travel.

Re:What?? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 6 months ago | (#46830929)

If by 'any deal' you mean 'any contract' then they generally do come with either unlimited texting or quite a lot, but that's not true for pre-paid plans, which have made up the majority of the market for the last few years. I'm currently with Three, and they charge 3p/min for calls, 2p/min for texts and 1p/min for data - I'd have to spend a lot of time on the phone to come close to the cost of the cheapest contract plan, so they really only make sense for people who use their phone for business, or who haven't worked out that the 'free' phone that they get is really a loan at 50+% APR to buy a phone. For 2p, I can have one SMS or 2MB of data. The latter is enough to keep an IM connection open all day, so I can see the attraction of things like WhatsApp, especially since you can switch to the desktop version whenever you find the keyboard too limiting.

And that's not counting the fact that you can use WiFi when you're somewhere where roaming is expensive, which is the only reason I still have a SIP client installed on my phone: It's cheaper for me to make calls to the UK from the UK over the mobile network, but when I'm abroad (outside one of Three's Feel at Home countries) it's often a lot cheaper to use SIP. Sending text messages abroad is very expensive, but using WiFi is usually free.

Re:What?? (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 6 months ago | (#46830243)

My trips to the US is actually what started me using Whatsapp, sms prices and prepaid was simply way to expensive. Whereas a prepaid card with minimal data (think I was paying $2 a day last time I was there in jan) and then using whatsapp saved me a fortune, the US is incredibly expensive compared to most countries I travel to.

Re:What?? (1)

gweilo8888 (921799) | about 6 months ago | (#46829469)

That's what it is, and a horrendously limited, unintuitive messaging app at that. I was forced to install it by friends in Hong Kong recently while I was there, and uninstalled it the day I left. I see zero reason for it to exist, not even limited text billing plans -- you have to pay for Whatsapp too after the first year, after all.

Re:What?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46829581)

What? Facebook lies about its user base? What could they possibly have to gain from that? Oh, wait... That single number is proportional to what they can charge their customers.

Re:What?? (1)

kesuki (321456) | about 6 months ago | (#46829901)

i am already paying $50 a month for verizon cell phone, that's a 4g lte phone with i think 1500 anytime minutes. 2gb data cap, unlimited texting costs $5 a month but i send/recieve less than $5 worth of texts a month. so no not 'everyone' has text messaging plans. my parents both have dumbphones still and they have text messages blocked to avoid unwanted charges.

and guess what, every other carrier servicing my area basically non existant. the towers used to be owned by alltel but now are all verizon and people can barely make phone calls if they aren't verizon phones.

Re:What?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46830619)

You may have unlimited _domestic_ texting, but I doubt you have unlimited _international_ texting. An ever increasing number of people around the world know and interact with people who live in other countries. In my experience, this is what people use WhatsApp for. If one person in a circle of friends moves overseas, then that whole circle of friends gets WhatsApp so they can all continue to communicate seamlessly and cheaply. So, to answer your question, you are either insane or just ignorant.

Re:What?? (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | about 6 months ago | (#46830675)

It seems like the only point is to get around the few remaining billing plans on the planet that don't have unlimited text messaging.

This comes up every single time something is posted on Slashdot about WhatsApp.

Lots of people have packages with tonnes of text messages making them, essentially, free or very low cost - however SMS doesn't do anything beyond 1:1 communication in plain old text. So picture sharing and group chats are out.

MMS can do that, but it's often excluded from SMS packages - so after a few messages it can start to get rather expensive. Even more so when you are sending these things to different countries.

iMessage can do that too and it's nicely integrated into iOS. If your friends aren't using iOS though then it all falls down.

So, combining these all together gets you the following wish list:

  - Very cheap almost to the point of being free.
  - 1:1 and group chat support.
  - Picture and content sharing.
  - No additional fees for sending worldwide.
  - No additional fees when you're roaming.
  - Not tied to users of one operating system.

WhatsApp (and the like) fill this gap.

Re:What?? (0)

DogDude (805747) | about 6 months ago | (#46830709)

- Very cheap almost to the point of being free.
Text messages are already free.

- 1:1 and group chat support.
Already do that with regular text messages

- Picture and content sharing.
Already do that with regular text messages

- No additional fees for sending worldwide.
The only potential benefit I see

- No additional fees when you're roaming.
"Roaming" doesn't really happen in most of the modern world

- Not tied to users of one operating system.
Already do that with regular text messages

Like I said, it's a small niche, and it's shrinking rapidly as more and more people just get unlimited texts.

Re:What?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46831123)

- Very cheap almost to the point of being free.
Text messages are already free.

As many people mentioned, not everyone has unlimited plans for everything you can think of. Text messages are not free for many people, hence the interest of WhatsApp.

- 1:1 and group chat support.
Already do that with regular text messages

Please tell us how you do group chats (as they happen in WhatsApp, in a fashion similar to a IRC channel) with messages. All you get is one message which tells you who sent it. You can't reply back to everyone because (most phones, at least) don't send that information with the outgoing message.

- Picture and content sharing.
Already do that with regular text messages

Please, stop bullshitting. Are you talking about SMS? Please tell us how you send pictures through it.

- No additional fees when you're roaming.
"Roaming" doesn't really happen in most of the modern world

Tell us more about this little world you live in. It's far different from mine.

Like I said, it's a small niche, and it's shrinking rapidly as more and more people just get unlimited texts.

So niche everyone around me is using it (and I'm not because my dumb phone doesn't support it, otherwise peer pressure would have probably forced me to). And hundreds of million of people (to account for multiple accounts per user) is certainly niche. You don't need it, you don't use it. But don't say it's a niche just because you don't find the interest in it... that's not what niche means.

Re:What?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46831225)

Picture and content sharing.
Already do that with regular text messages

Interesting. Can you enlightened us mere mortals on how to send and receive pictures via SMS? Not MMS, but SMS.

Re:What?? (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | about 6 months ago | (#46831415)

Very cheap almost to the point of being free.
Text messages are already free.

They may be for you, but they aren't for everyone. The USA != The World.

- 1:1 and group chat support.
Already do that with regular text messages

SMS doesn't support group chat. Messages to more than one person are sent individually, there is no way for the recipients to see all the people who were messaged and therefore there is no way for them to group reply.

- Picture and content sharing.
Already do that with regular text messages

You might want to read up on the specification for "regular text messages". SMS has no provision for much beyond simple plain text messages.

- No additional fees when you're roaming.
"Roaming" doesn't really happen in most of the modern world

Again, the USA != The World. If I go from France to the UK or USA then I'm roaming.

Like I said, it's a small niche, and it's shrinking rapidly as more and more people just get unlimited texts.

A one billion person niche that isn't solved just by a bunch of unlimited text messages.

Re:What?? (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 6 months ago | (#46831579)

Text messages aren't necessarily free in the USA either. I'm paying $20 a month because my girlfriend is on a different service (I'm on AT&T, she's on Verizon I think). My ex wife and I are both on AT&T and both use iPhones (girlfriend has an Android) so my ex and I can text for free. Back in November my girlfriend and I started dating and texting. Within a couple of weeks I received an AT&T alert indicating I'd hit $50 in text charges and I should consider going with one of the texting plans.

So no, texting isn't free everywhere.

[John]

Re:What?? (1)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 6 months ago | (#46830767)

Why would I pay $20 per month for unlimited messaging when I could pay $1 per year for this app?

Re:What?? (1)

Threni (635302) | about 6 months ago | (#46831547)

Why use an app which you have to use your phone for, when there are those which work on tablets, desktops etc? I go abroad, I put my phone into airplane mode and use only wifi (I'm not paying £1500 per gig!).

Re:What?? (1)

Pascal Sartoretti (454385) | about 6 months ago | (#46830849)

This looks like a "messaging" app. It seems like the only point is to get around the few remaining billing plans on the planet that don't have unlimited text messaging

Few billing plans ? Maybe in the USA, but in the rest of the world (including Western Europe), many people use pre-paid plans. Especially kids, who happen to be heavy users of messaging.

And remember that "unlimited" text messaging is usually only for domestic messages : you often pay to send messages to another country, and you often pay when sending from abroad.

WhatsApp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46830955)

WhatsApp has groups, just like channels on irc. That's the killer feature for me. (also, no adds, minimalist, just works)
One very important feature is missing though; now only the group founder can administer the group. This right should be shareable to others. Other nice feature would be ability to tunnel the messages to other protocols.

Re:What?? (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 6 months ago | (#46831595)

This looks like a "messaging" app. It seems like the only point is to get around the few remaining billing plans on the planet that don't have unlimited text messaging. Am I insane thinking that this market niche will only exist for another year, at most? I personally don't know anybody who has to pay for messaging, but I understand that some people in other countries still have to (for now)...

So tell me, how do I start an SMS conversation on my laptop, continue it on my phone and then later continue it on my tablet? Please tell me a user-friendly and obvious way to do it, because I want to be able to teach it to my mom...

This is fairly typical use case in this day and age. This is why SMS has peaked and is being replaced by other forms of texting.

Re:What?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46831627)

The biggest use of this is: BBM Style group chat that is far more reliable than MMS or iMessage. It does not time out when one carrier is being finicky, and chats with 8+ people stay properly sync'd and in order. While iMessage comes close if 100% of the participants are on iOS, once you add another platform it falls apart.

Bots??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46829299)

I don't see why such growth should occur. Probably Facebook automatically creating "shadow accounts" for Facebook users.

Real users? (4, Interesting)

sstamps (39313) | about 6 months ago | (#46829427)

I'm sure Farcebork brought them some more visibility than they had, but what evidence is there that even most of them are actual bona fide new users, rather than just new accounts? FB has a history of having a significant percentage of their "accounts" being little more than "likebots" to float their "pay for likes" scheme.

(See VSauce's channel on YT for a rather telling commentary on the FB "like" scam).

Re:Real users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46830743)

This may have already been said.. How many employees are using it? Which would count towards their total 'users'. How many users had joined then quit using the app. This story seems more like a free marketing attempt to try and get people to use it. Few heard of the app till Facef**k bought it. Previous comment said this app will die off in a few years, and from the comments I have read I can see that may be the case.

The flushing of 19 billion down the drain...

Re:Real users? (4, Insightful)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 6 months ago | (#46830769)

"what evidence is there"
The $1 per year after the first year of use.

Re:Real users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46830909)

This isn't collected universally. If you want an example of that, I've not paid and I've had an account for well over a year.

Seems it's mostly restricted to iPhone users, as they'd be far more likely to pay.

Re:Real users? (1)

jittles (1613415) | about 6 months ago | (#46832949)

This isn't collected universally. If you want an example of that, I've not paid and I've had an account for well over a year.

Seems it's mostly restricted to iPhone users, as they'd be far more likely to pay.

Actually the app costs $1 for iPhone and is free after that. I got it for free for iPHone and when I later switched to Android, I never had to pay - despite the app clearly stating that it was $1 after the first year. I've been using it for years. I mostly use it to message people who are not in the US, or who work in areas that do not have great cell phone service.

Re:Real users? (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 6 months ago | (#46831011)

I am routinely spammed by fake accounts on Facebook. It happened twice in the last week alone. So far I have never received any spam on WhatsApp, probably because they do phone verification for every user, so a spammer would need to control lots of phone numbers, which is possible but not trivial.

Literally everyone I know uses WhatsApp. Just because it didn't take off in the USA doesn't mean these numbers are wrong. It's pretty rapidly replaced SMS as the global mobile messaging standard. Half a billion users sounds about right to me. If you say there's about a billion people online (very rough), subtract a few hundred million for the USA, and WhatsApp is getting close to but hasn't yet saturated the international market, then half a billion is about where I'd expect them to be.

Are you sure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46829443)

I know a lot of people who uninstalled it the moment it was bought by FB. None that installed it.

Unsurprising... (1)

stms (1132653) | about 6 months ago | (#46829491)

Unsurprising I'm 5 users myself.

1 in 7 (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about 6 months ago | (#46829567)

1 in 7 people on Earth uses it and I know none of them. And I know people in India

Re:1 in 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46829693)

Yeah, this seems pretty unlikely. I know people in India and China.

Re:1 in 7 (1)

danlip (737336) | about 6 months ago | (#46829823)

I don't know any of them either. I wonder if anyone really uses it.

Re:1 in 7 (2)

clovis (4684) | about 6 months ago | (#46830065)

1 in 7 people on Earth uses it and I know none of them. And I know people in India

Same for me, but I also always got picked last at kickball so I'm not surprised the 6 in 7 other people don't tell me about their messaging.

Re:1 in 7 (2)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | about 6 months ago | (#46830317)

i live in india, and i don't know anybody who does NOT use whatsapp. literally everyone uses it. every nokia phone (dumb/smart), every android, and even some local branded dumbphones have whatsapp. unlimited texting is not a thing over here. data is much, much cheaper. also, with texts you can't send pics, or audio, or video. and sms is not instant messaging. whatsapp is like fb chat, but on your phone.
also, i been using it for 3-4 years, and they always renew my subscription for free every year. and even if this stops happening in the future, 50 bucks (INR) per year is literally negligible compared to any other cost in your life.

Re:1 in 7 (1)

aprdm (2451390) | about 6 months ago | (#46831637)

Exactly! Here in Brazil everyone uses it! You can make groups and send pics, audio and video for the whole group, you can't do that with SMS. Making a whataspp group of your soccer buddies to organize games is awesome :)

Re:1 in 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46831099)

1 in 7 people on Earth uses it and I know none of them. And I know people in India

Well, here in Switzerland everyone's using it. Without exaggerating much, I can almost say I'm the only person not using it.

Finland also (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46831247)

Very popular here in Finland also. Super handy when going abroad, as you can use it through free wifis and do't have to worry about roaming. Also popular as a way to keep in touch with friends abroad. I guess US people don't go abroad that much, or have friends outside their own country.

Re:1 in 7 (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about 6 months ago | (#46831167)

Almost everyone in South Africa I know* uses it. It is a no-brainer in terms of the cost of sms/mms here.

*I know some people without capable phones, who would if they had a phone that could.

Maths (1)

nemasu (1766860) | about 6 months ago | (#46829669)

Half of something is just as close to 0 too, they're gonna need to try very hard to gain another 500 million users.

Re:Maths (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46829895)

What are you talking about? They have like 5 million users. Tops. They won't get half a million more. It's a fucking centralized, information-stealing chat app.

And then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46829877)

And then the ads start. And then there's another messaging app to go to. And then then exodus starts, because there's no particular cost in moving from one free messaging app to a different one, while ads are annoying. I wonder if the new popular messaging app will get bought by Google this time for billions of dollars.

Exposing the other (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 6 months ago | (#46829951)

It's always fascinating to find yet another way one differs from hundreds of millions or even billions of other people.

Re:Exposing the other (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46833081)

It's not that fascinating, you're also a Jesus freak, Billions aren't.

Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46830155)

They will have 1/7th of the earth's population using whatsapp?

I think there is funny business in those numbers.

Less interested in sign-ups.. (1)

Rick in China (2934527) | about 6 months ago | (#46830377)

Than actual active members. I've had whatsapp installed on a phone for a couple years, and haven't used it in...well, a couple years. Am I in those statistics?

Re:Less interested in sign-ups.. (1)

PixetaledPikachu (1007305) | about 6 months ago | (#46830533)

Than actual active members. I've had whatsapp installed on a phone for a couple years, and haven't used it in...well, a couple years. Am I in those statistics?

If you're on android, it costs USD1 a year to put whatsapp on your phone. Do you still pay for them? If no, it's unlikely that you're still counted as user

Whatsapp is ubiquitous in many places of the world (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46830745)

You should just take your heads out of that hole you have it in and look at other countries of the world.
There is a couple of things you should know:
1. No, non unlimited SMS plans are going nowhere in many places and SMS cost so much in some countries that you may pay for your data plan by sending 100-200 SMS a month.
2. Whatsapp has market penetration of over 90% in some countries, and many people from Latin America, many European countries (And I think Asia too, although I'm not too sure whats the scenario there, I know in India is wildly used) will tell you they don't know anyone who doesn't use whatsapp (unless they know an american). I have over 95% of my contacts in Whatsapp, and I haven't received ANY SMS in the past 3-4 years, unless it's spam or a message from the telco letting me know I have a lost call.
3. Whatsapp is very convenient for anyone that lives abroad or has friends abroad, which is becoming an increasing trend (probably in many cases but the US too)
4. Whatsapp is fast, many criticise how simple the app is, but this makes the app very fast, specially in low end phones and thats the reason many use it.
5. You can form groups which is very convenient, send photos, etc which makes it much more convenient than SMS once you get used to it.

Re:Whatsapp is ubiquitous in many places of the wo (3, Informative)

franciscohs (1003004) | about 6 months ago | (#46830797)

I may add to this, when you're traveling it usually costs ~$1/day for some megs of data roaming (5-50mb i've seen), which is more than enough to send lots of messages, while ONE roaming SMS may cost the same. Again, probably not very common in the US to travel abroad, but think about Europe how much people travel and live in any other European country other than their own and where they have most of friends/family. You'd use Whatsapp (or something similar) lots more if you had to pay roaming charges to send SMS across states in the US.

Biggest reason they overpaid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46830847)

Whatsapp has no loyalty. I've looked at the alternatives out there. Apps like Viber, Line, Telegram etc. They get massive boosts every time Whatsapp has an outage. Within seconds their adoption rates spike.

Simply put, The moment something goes wrong, someone comes with something better, and that the switching costs are so low, people will leave. Remember, its also not a winner-take-all market since the products are close to or are free for use. This means while if you could capture the entire value of the user for that service it may be worth X, but because they still chat on sms, msn, skype, etc, they are worth a fraction of X.

Instagram and Whatsapp purchases by facebook are a knee-jerk reaction to them missing the mobile boat the first time around.

Regulation (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 6 months ago | (#46831017)

Facebook chatting app Is Well On Its Way To A Billion Users

FTFY

Time for regulators to step in. What if telco's kept their clients hostage by not letting them call clients on other networks? That would be insane. Same here.

a THOUSAND million (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46831659)

... not a billion.

Bye Bye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46831769)

International SMS is becoming free on most cellular plans

FUCK beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46832877)

#2

I don't believe it (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 6 months ago | (#46832997)

I literally don't know a single person who uses WhatsApp. I have two teenage daughters who do all the snapchatting and whatnot and they didn't even know what WhatsApp even was. None of their cousins scattered around the western world and attending many different universities know what it is. So the only way that WhatsApp is able to have anything even close to 1 billion users is if it is predominant in non western countries.

And as proof of where these kids lay on the spectrum of being leaders of technology, nearly all of them have abandoned, or severely cut back on their Facebook.
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