Popular messaging service WhatsApp announced that they have reached over 300 million users, making them one of the largest third party messaging services ever. Whatsapp also announced that they will be adding voice messaging to the app in a ‘push to talk’ type feature.
WhatsApp is a cross-platform messaging service that allows iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows phone users to send messages to each other without using their text plans. The service gained popularity a few years back, as people looked to move away from Blackberry devices but still wanted a Blackberry messenger-like service. Based on these new numbers, it doesn’t seem like that popularity is slowing down. According to cnet.com:
“Watch out for WhatsApp. The mobile messaging smash has grown to a captive audience of more than 300 million people, up from 250 million active users less than two months ago. The 4-year-old service is also expanding in function to include a new type of messaging.
“Today, we’re proud to announce that WhatsApp has surpassed 300 million monthly active users worldwide, a milestone on the road to WhatsApp becoming the communication network of the 21st century.”
The updated version of WhatsApp should be available within the next 24 hours. Voice messaging was already somewhat possible in previous versions of the application, but the updated version makes the process more seamless. As business manager Neeraj Arora told forbes.com:
“Push-to-talk messaging as it’s technically known, was a pet project of WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum, who worked closely with the company’s engineers over the last six months to fine-tune the feature. It will be pushed out to WhatsApp users across all platforms and devices in the next 24 hours.
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“Certain languages such as Chinese are very difficult to type,” says Arora. “For some people it’s easier to send a quick voice message… and it’s more fun and expressive.”
WhatsApp may be making this into a bigger deal than it is, though. As stated, in previous versions of the application you could send ‘audio notes,’ they just required a few extra steps. Most people use text to facilitate conversations instead of actively interacting using speech. But if they decided to use speech, a video/voice calling feature may have been a better option—like the integrated features of Google’s messaging app, Hangouts.
All in all, WhatsApp growing their user base by 50 million in a few short months is bigger news than a voice message feature, and this is still a great product worth using.
Check out Whatsapp voice messaging video below and give us your thoughts.