According to a recent 2019 study, WhatsApp, the messaging app owned by social network giant Facebook, has 1.5 billion users in the world, out of which, India has 200 million users. With a rapid increase of its users, WhatsApp is undoubtedly the most popular messaging app worldwide today. The app today celebrates 10 years of its presence.
Here is a look at their tech journey and updates over the last decade. From encryption to location sharing to status, check out the all the updates WhatsApp introduced in the last 10 years. Also, check out the upcoming features on the anvil.
Sign up for your weekly dose of what's up in emerging technology.
2009: The start of WhatsApp was primarily as a messaging application for mobile phone users, invented by Jan Koum and Brian Acton who were former employees of Yahoo!Both the founders. Koum began to explore the possibility of creating an app that would let mobile users have a better interaction and engage with their friends, family, and business contacts. Teaming up with Brian Acton, Koum managed to persuade five associates from Yahoo! to fund the app with $250,000, and in 2009 WhatsApp was launched. By the end of the year it was also an image and video sharing platform.
2010: They introduced a feature to share location by its users and send it to people to know about their whereabouts and know that they were safe. This was the first new, notable feature of WhatsApp since its inception and provided a lot of convenience to its users.
2011: This year, WhatsApp introduced the WhatsApp Web, where users could use their WhatsApp registered on their phone numbers on the laptops and desktops, adding one more convenience. WhatsApp group feature was introduced this year. WhatsApp groups is widely used for many purposes, whether it is a group project or a trip to go to, it comes with a lot of communication convenience.
2013: It introduced its voice messaging feature where users could use the mic on WhatsApp and send it as a voice message to their contacts.
2014: This was when WhatsApp became a member of Facebook. It also made available the feature of read receipts, which created a lot of buzz. A Quora answer explains that there are three parts of the Whatsapp: sender, receiver and server, with multiple servers. It has a single tick when the signal is received. When the server sends message to the receiver, it waits for the server to come online before sending the message and the algorithm has a double tick underneath it. For blue ticks, WhatsApp, on opening a chat, captures the signal and sends the ‘seen’ signal to the server and then to the sender, eventually giving a blue tick to the message, o the receiver.
2016: One of the unique features of 256-bit end-to-end encryption was introduced in 2016. WhatsApp end-to-end encryption ensures only you and the person you’re communicating with can read what’s sent, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp. Your messages are secured with locks, with every message having its own unique lock and key, and only the recipient and you have the special keys needed to unlock and read your messages. The following steps describes the working of it:
1.When the user first opens the WhatsApp, two different keys; public & private, are generated. The encryption process takes place on the phone itself.
2.The private key must remain with the user whereas the public key is transferred to the receiver via a centralised WhatsApp server.
3.Public key encrypts the senders message on the phone even before it reaches the centralised server.
4.The server is only used to transmit the encrypted message. The message can only be unlocked by the private key of the receiver. No third party, including WhatsApp can intercept and read the message.
They also had a desktop app of WhatsApp in 2016. Towards the end of 2016, WhatsApp introduced the much-anticipated video calling feature to take on Skype and Google Hangouts.
2017: WhatsApp introduced the feature of WhatsApp status, which was very similar on the social networking site of Snapchat.
2018: WhatsApp Business was introduced this year. WhatsApp Business also supports WhatsApp Web, wherein you can manage the service online, without a mobile app. These are the finer points that set WhatsApp Business apart from the standard app. It is built from the ground up for businesses or individuals running their own setup, to cater to client needs. It’s also the very reason the app exists, because it offers so much more than what the standard app can offer for those currently doing business on the regular app.
WhatsApp group calling was also introduced this year.
2019: WhatsApp completes 10 years.
Upcoming Features This Year
Some of the upcoming features of WhatsApp or this year are WhatsApp Dark Mode, WhatsApp Add Contact feature, WhatsApp QR code, WhatsApp ranking for contacts and Private Reply