We’ve told you about WhatsApp – an application that allows you message friends around the world – before. With the 99 cent app you can send texts, pictures or videos to anyone with the app installed on their smartphone. You can send those message without paying the standard rates for a text messaging plan. The service is very popular with 450 million users around the world and Facebook wants in on the action, shelling out $16 billion dollars for the five-year-old company.
The move is seen as Facebook’s attempt to get in on the real-time messaging market. That’s when messages show up and are answered in pretty close to real time on your phone like a the. Facebook is paying $16 billion dollars for WhatsApp.
Now you can chat on Facebook, either in the Facebook App or by using Facebook messenger. But the company has noticed that people tend to treat Facebook messages more like e-mails and reply to them later during time they’ve set aside for checking their social media.
WhatsApp Founder Jan Koum will join the board of directors at Facebook. According to press reports Koum signed the $19 billion deal outside the building where his Ukrainian Immigrant family applied for Food Stamps when he was a teenager.
Facebook says What’sApp will keep its identity and users will not be required to join Facebook in order to use the app.
“WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO. “I’ve known Jan for a long time and I’m excited to partner with him and his team to make the world more open and connected.”
Messaging apps like What’sApp have hit cell phone carriers hard, causing many of them to start offering unlimited text plans. However, these apps haven’t yet shown themselves to be big money makers.
There was no mention of what, if any, changes WhatsApp users can expect to see in the future.