WhatsApp is a text messaging and calling app that has been around since 2009. It’s one of if not the most popular communication apps in the world and is available on all mobile platforms. It’s well-known for being safe and easy to use.
How does it work?
It allows cross-platform messaging via data services, meaning that an Internet connection, be it mobile data or WiFi is used to send messages, rather than the text allowance that a phone provider offers. You can also make international calls without the charges – as long as both parties use WhatsApp.
This also means that it’s possible to send messages via WhatsApp even if there isn’t any regular reception, provided the user connects to a WiFi service. In order to set it up, users have to download it from their app store and confirm their phone number once. After entering a confirmation code sent via traditional text message to their number, users can use the messaging service without incurring charges the way a text message might.
Tip: Although data consumption is generally very low, it does still require some data. For users with low mobile data allowances, it’s recommended that they monitor their consumption and connect to Wifi networks whenever possible to keep data usage low.
What makes WhatsApp so special?
It’s known for its strong privacy features – among them end-to-end encryption. E2EE is an encryption tool that ensures that any communication, be it messages, images or something else, can only be accessed and seen by the participants of a conversation. In a chat between two people, only those two people can see what’s in the chat. In a group conversation, only group members can see the messages.
Additionally, WhatsApp also offers a web-based service that lets you use WhatsApp in your browser. You can’t use all the functions (for example voice and video calls aren’t available) but you can still send and receive messages, images, and more.
The entire messaging app runs entirely without ads, making it a convenient experience for users. There are various types of customisation features users can utilise in order to make the app their own – far more than most stock messaging apps.
Who owns WhatsApp?
WhatsApp is currently owned by Facebook – they bought it in 2014 for $19 billion USD. Upon launch in 2009, the app had 250.000 users. By 2017, the app had 1.2 billion users globally. It’s available around the world, though some regions impose restrictions, such as China, for example.