Last week, social media giant Facebook bought the mobile messaging platform WhatsApp for a cool $19 billion. So what does Facebook want with WhatsApp?
Well, maybe it’s their 450 million users. And they’ve made it no secret that they want to be the focal point of your daily communications regimen. Recently, Facebook completely “un-bundled” their messaging app, Messenger, to run completely independent of the Facebook app on your phone. This is an attempt to brand the Messenger app and bring awareness to it as a powerful private communication tool (as opposed to Facebook wall posting which is generally public to all of your friends).
Facebook has stated that WhatsApp will remain completely independent with no changes in staff or pricing. But exactly what’s different about WhatsApp that your regular mobile SMS can’t do (or Facebook messenger). Well, first of all, it’s GLOBAL. With WhatsApp, you can communicate with anyone who has the app installed. And of course, WhatsApp does not use your carrier’s SMS plan. It communicates using your data plan. Some other notable goodies are:
- simple to use group chat
- voice messaging – speak into your phone and record a message that can simply be instantly played by the recipient
- embedded audio and video capability
- Broadcast messaging – send a message to a group without revealing all of the recipients to each other (like BCC)
- GPS aware so it can send your location with a map link if desired
And what does it cost? Well, at the moment, it’s completely FREE for the first year. And there are NO ads and NO pop-ups. After the first year, it’s just 99 cents a year. Yup – 99 cents.
Give WhatsApp a try and let us know what you think. Is it useful for you?