As one of the most popular alternatives to paid text messages, free chat app WhatsApp now has over 500 million users.
“You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies” was the tagline that the The Social Network – the Hollywood blockbuster movie about Facebook – released with when it came out in 2010. And for the most part, that’s true. Maintaining a popular app or site and keeping all of your users happy all of the time can be a pretty tricky feat, which is why plenty of sites get just shy of the 500 million users mark, buckling under the weight of their moderate success. One such app that has jumped that shark and landed as smoothly as ever is WhatsApp, the popular texting app which has now reached 500 million users and rising.
Some of WhatsApp’s growth is down to being purchased by Facebook who trumped up a cool $19 billion to get the app under their wing. When the social media site bought WhatsApp back in February, WhatsApp’s founder, Jan Koum, spoke of the app’s “450 million monthly active users worldwide and over 320 million daily active users,” figures that they’d amassed in 5 short years. 50 million more users in just two months is nothing to be sniffed at either and Facebook are going to be particularly chuffed by this success as despite slow WhatsApp growth in the US, WhatsApp has had huge success in economically improving countries such as Brazil and India as well as mobile market powerhouses like Russia as it allows for cross-platform messaging which is handy in these regions as iPhones (and their free iMessage service) aren’t very popular. By default, WhatsApp’s success allows Facebook to grow in those regions too and so the increase in users increases Facebook’s bottom line no matter what.
Furthermore, the growth will only be aided by WhatsApp’s latest Android update which now allows users to mute group conversations for a certain amount of time. This level of functionality (and the fact that WhatsApp is available from the Google Play Store for free) will only aid its growth and see more done in terms of improvements, so we’ll keep you posted once we know more.