WhatsApp. Inc{13}


Whatsapp Messenger is a instant messaging service for smartphones. It has a monthly subscription fee of one dollar per year, with the first year being free. Tt allows people to send texts, images, video, and audio messages as well as their locations using integrated mapping features. This software is available on the Google Android, BlackBerry OS, Apple IOS, Nokia Series, Symbian, Microsoft Windows Phone, and Blackberry 10.

It was founded in 2009 by Americans Brian Action and Jan Koum, who are also CEO and former employees of Yahoo!. They also applied for Facebook and was not hired. The company has a mere 55 people working. They had grown from one billion messages daily in 2011, two billion in early 2012, 10 billion in late 2012, and a record of 27 billion in the middle of 2013. To put it in perspective, 5 million messages have been sent in the time it took me to finish this sentence.
In late december of last year, they have more than 400 million active users each month in a span of 5 years, more than any company in history.

How it all began?
In january of 2009, less than a year after the release of the first iphone, Jan Koum and Alex Fisherman came to discuss the idea of a new app, where it was named Whatsapp because it sounded like “What’s up”.  They were not sucessful initually because it would keep crashing or getting stuck. In june of 2009, Apple launched push notifications, which allowed developers to ping users, and therefore people will be notified even when they were not using the app. Acton convinced 5 ex-Yahoo friends to invest $250,000 in funding, where they were granted co-founder status. The app was switched from a free to a paid service to avoid growing too fast, because the cost would have been higher mainly due to verification texts.
In early 2011, the app was in the top 20 of all apps in the US apple store.

How it works & relevance
Whatsapp uses a version of XMPP ( extensible messaging and presence Protocal) as well as LITEsql for their database. After installation, it creates a user account using the phone number as the username (8158158151@s.whatsapp.net). It then compares the phone numbers from your device to auto add contacts to user’s contact list. The video and audio work by sending it to a HTTP server then sending a link to the content along with its Base64 (307) Thumbnail

Security and Privacy
Because the app uses information from your contacts, it would also store in its database, the information of people who are not using the app at all. the info is stored in hashed form (code) but it is sufficient to identify the contact
In may 2011, a security hole was reported which left unencrypted communications and data was received in plaintext (messages could be read easily if packet traces were available)
To counter this, they implemented an IP address check on current logged-in sessions.

Facebook’s Aquisition
A little over a week ago, facebook Inc. bought out WhatsApp for $19 billion, (4 billion cash, 12 billion in fb shares, and 3 billion in restrictied stock units(granted to whatsapp’s founders and employees over 4 years). It is the largest purchase of a company back by venture capitalists. just a few months ago, facebook offered to buy snapchat for $3 billion cash, less than 1/6th of the purchase for whatsapp, and bought instagram for 1 billion.

Why purchase?
1. Facebook needs to change to follow new trends or it can be come tomorrow’s myspace, 70% of whatsapp use it daily
2. Whatsapp is made for mobile use, rather than facebook messenger. it will also be segregated from facebook, but could implement all of facebook’s tools to grow.
3. Vision for the future, HTML 5. “The idea is the develop a group of basic internet services that would be free of charge to use…a 911 for the internet”
4. competition for facebook

SMS VS WHATSAPP
sms – allows 160 chartacter text messages to be sent to and from any GSM handset, built into the GSM wireless standard
Whatsapp allows international texting, places with little to no signal is bad for sms
it’s good for people who changes numbers often, don’t have unlimited texting, and no fees

The whatsapp Database was made by Francesco Picasso ( not to be confused with the painter), who wrote a tool with SQlite Database files in HTLM form. By early 2018, it is predicted that IM, instant messaging, would replace SMS as the form of texting, as it is already catching up. And since facebook spent about 1/5th of its whole net worth on whatsapp, it seems confident that many users will catch on to the trend and make up for its $19 billion dollar aquisition in the future.

 

Citations

Church, K.,  Oliverira, R. (2013).  What’s up with WhatsApp? Comparing Mobile Instant

Messaging Behaviors with Traditional SMS.  Munich, Germany: COLLABORATION AND COMMUNICATION

 

Reynolds , D., & Chapple, I. (2014, 02 25). Facebook’s mark zuckerberg: Whatsapp ‘worth more than $19 billion’. Retrieved from http://edition.cnn.com/2014/02/24/business/facebooks-mark-zuckerberg-woos-the-mobile-tech-crowd/

Scott, M. (2014, 02 24). Zuckerberg says whatsapp deal was a bargain. Retrieved from http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/24/zuckerberg-says-whatsapp-deal-was-a-bargain/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0