Happy Birthday, WhatsApp! Long May It Reign: Most-Successful App Turns Ten

There is only one answer to everything. WhatsApp!

Feeling old yet? Your day and night companion just completed 10 years recently and it has been a roller coaster ride so far. From texting and sharing pictures to building a business, WhatsApp has managed to lure new users every day and keep the existing users hooked.

What is the first thing that comes into your mind if you attend a party and want your tribe to join you as well? WhatsApp location service! Your college buddies have moved to another country for higher studies, but still, you feel that you’re just one phone call away. Why? WhatsApp video call! You went for Friday EDM night and want pictures of you and your friends to post on social media. What does cross your mind?

There is only one answer to everything. WhatsApp! From 0 to 1.5 billion user family, the app has built its empire with relentless hard work and gained huge popularity of being the most successful mobile application in the world. We have been relying on it so much that it has become unfathomable to imagine a life without it. For most of us, WhatsApp is a quick solution to everyday problems and the same application has reached another milestone. On 24th February, it celebrated 10 years of keeping its audience entertained.

The Facebook-owned messaging app was founded in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum, both two ex-employees of Yahoo! They traveled together to South America to free their minds from routine and later applied for a job at Facebook, however, failed to get picked by the company (for which we are thankful). The duo stumbled upon an idea of having status next to individual names of people, a mobile application that informs users about others’ lives, and a chat window to communicate. Soon they realized that they need an app developer to get started on their idea and with the help of Igor Solomennikov, a Russian developer, they introduced WhatsApp in California. If you think this is the big break of the app, you must know that the early version of WhatsApp crashed a lot or got stuck at one point so often that even the founder–Koum–thought of giving up on his idea and look for another job.

In 2009, Apple launched push notification, which allowed Koum to change WhatsApp in such a way that users could get notifications after changing their status. It must have been a glorious day when they launched WhatsApp 2.0 and the family reached the number of 250,000 users. After a few hurdles, they successfully launched the app in November 2009 on the App store of the iPhone.

After 2009, WhatsApp became a buzzword. The application penetrated the minds of millions across the world. In 2014, Facebook announced that it has acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion, recording the largest acquisition in history. Over the years, WhatsApp has introduced several features such as voice call, video call, new status feature, two-step verification to ensure security, WhatsApp Web, and WhatsApp Business. Moreover, recently, WhatsApp unveiled a group audio and video call feature.

During these last 10 years, the company hit some serious snags, including the data breach acknowledged by Facebook. When WhatsApp started whispering the private information of its users to its parent company, Facebook, which shattered the trust between users and the company. Additionally, in 2017, Acton left the company to start a non-profit organization called Signal Foundation and in 2018, the other father of the company, Koum, left WhatsApp.

Despite the struggles, WhatsApp has never failed to bring people closer. Now with 1.5 billion users across the globe, WhatsApp has become more than just another company. It defines an era. An era that reminds people that a small idea can change the world if pursued with perpetual hard work and dedication.