Technically, the world’s most popular email service and the hottest cross-platform instant messaging client for smartphones aren’t direct rivals. In fact, the vast majority of the latter’s adopters also probably use the former app on their handhelds or desktops.

But Google (or should we say Alphabet?) and WhatsApp (or rather Facebook) came forward nearly simultaneously with official word of both their user bases exceeding a billion people, and that’s unlikely to have been a coincidence.

Clearly, Mark Zuckerberg wanted to rain on Gmail’s parade, presenting an achievement that’s in many ways far more impressive than the constant, long-term growth of the search giant’s email product. After all, WhatsApp needed a measly five months to get from 900 million to a billion users, compared to eight for Gmail.

WhatsApp is also the much younger service, having only been inaugurated in January 2010, and acquired by Facebook four years later, when it already neared the 500 mil mark it ultimately crossed in April 2014.

Since then, the 600M tally was reached in August the same year, followed by 800 million in April 2015. Up next, FB targets the rest of the 6 billion people around the world, and in order to incentivize new adoption, subscription fees have recently been dropped.

There’s word of looming video call support too, though if it comes to pass, it could cost you a little something. Still, the sky appears to be the limit for WhatsApp’s progress.

Source: WhatsApp Blog

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