WhatsApp is an alternative to any smartphone’s built-in SMS application. Instead of using your cellular network to send SMS messages to your contacts, it uses the Internet to connect you to anyone whose phone number is registered in your phone’s address book. You can use WhatsApp for texting, multimedia messages, voice messages and group chats. Because the app uses the Internet, you won’t incur international charges when messaging other countries.
When you heard that Facebook shelled out $16B+ for WhatsApp yesterday, did you ask, “What’s WhatsApp”? You weren’t the only one. While the app has proved its value, at least to the market, it isn’t as popular in the United States as it is in Europe, Latin America, and India.
So, what is WhatsApp?
WhatsApp is a messaging app that lets users text, chat, and share media, including voice messages and video, with individuals or groups.
How does WhatsApp work?
WhatsApp relies on data to send messages, like iMessage or BBM, so it doesn’t cut into your monthly text allotment.
How many people are using WhatsApp?
The service has 450 million monthly average users.
Where do these people live?
The majority of WhatsApp users live in Europe, India, and Latin America.
Who doesn’t (or isn’t supposed to) use WhatsApp?
Rabbis discourage the app’s use among ultra-Orthodox Jews, saying that it’s responsible for divorces in the community.
How much does it cost?
WhatsApp is free for the first year and $0.99 per year after that. Since it uses data, make sure you keep tabs on your data usage, or just log on to Wi-Fi.
How does WhatsApp make money?
Money comes in from that $0.99 fee. There are no advertisements on WhatsApp, something that the founders said will remain true even after the Facebook buyout.
What does Facebook want WhatsApp for?
Facebook has a messaging app, Messenger, but it is second to WhatsApp in popularity, so the acquisition vaults Facebook to the No. 1 spot. It also gives Facebook 450 million or so phone numbers, valuable information to have for an ad-based business like Facebook. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in a statement on the deal, said that WhatsApp will boost the Internet.org effort to increase Internet access around the world.
Can I get WhatsApp? What phones does it work on?
How much information do I have to give to WhatsApp?
Your name and phone number.
Is WhatsApp secure?
WhatsApp says that messages are encrypted and not stored on its servers. But WhatsApp is being investigated in Canada and the Netherlands for privacy issues pertaining to the ability to register a person’s phone without their permission and intercept messages. The app also uploads all of a user’s contacts and requires them to individually block users with whom they do not want contact. Additionally, even the numbers of those who do not use WhatsApp are stored in the app in perpetuity.
For more, check out PCMag’s review of WhatsApp for Android and Windows Phone. Also check out the slideshow above, which discusses the next possible billion-dollar startup deal, and PCMag Live in the video below, which talks WhatsApp’s $16 billion windfall.
Your Phone Book
After installed the WhatsApp Messenger application, the app scans your phone for all of the phone numbers of your contacts and checks the numbers against its massive database. Anyone who uses WhatsApp is automatically added to your WhatsApp contact list. You can’t add or remove contacts manually; WhatsApp pairs with your phone’s contact list and identifies all of its users by phone numbers.
WhatsApp doesn’t use traditional cellular networks to send SMS messages between you and your contacts. Whereas your phone will send SMS on the same airwaves that you make voice calls, WhatsApp uses 3G, 4G, LTE or Wi-Fi Internet connections to send messages. For the application to work, you have to have a valid Internet connection on your phone.
On a cell phone, you need an active 3G or 4G connection to send photos, audio or video through the phone’s messaging service. With WhatsApp, you can always send multimedia messages because the application is always connected to the Internet. WhatsApp integrates with your phone’s photo gallery and camera too, enabling you to select photos to send to your contacts or to capture a photo.
WhatsApp Messenger integrates with your phone in more ways than by grabbing your contacts and your photos. The app is always on, like your built-in messaging service, running constantly in the background. You don’t need to sign in or out of the program to have access to WhatsApp. The app captures time and date information from your phone — instead of from the carrier, like text messages — to organize messages. If your messages are appearing with the wrong time stamp, adjust your phone’s settings.
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