The Story of WhatsApp

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Whatsapp – “how did it all begin?” I remember when WhatsApp was in a corner on my Blackberry but without any notifications, I would use it for the people who did not have BBM. And now, BBM sits in a forgotten corner in my mobile. Here comes the story behind the scenes

The Story of WhatsApp

Jan Kuom had a dream of building the perfect app that doesn’t require asking for personal information and Jan, a simple guy who lived with his mother and grandmother in a small apartment, supported himself and entered into university and met his business partner, Brian Acton soon developed the most loved and most used App today, WhatsApp.

Now, this was at the time of other messaging apps that required, PINS and email addresses in order to work and the easy usage and accessibility of this app soon made it too popular. Jan and Brian did not utilize any advertisements on this app, then, how did they make money, you ask? They charged subscription fees to iPhone and Android users. Well, with only the subscription fees and all that usage, nobody seemed to mind.

Growth of WhatsApp

Whatsapp’s growth has been one to talk about. When it was launched, there were BBM, messengers, Facebook and though it started slow, the popularity increased smooth and steady. The usability across all platforms of Android, iOS, Blacberry, this was one to be a part of. I know I had installed WhatsApp on my Blackberry device and without any notifications, had it lying there. Why? Because it wasn’t as cool as BBM and so dry.

I remember when Whatsapp had no profile picture, no status updates, no music updates, and at that time, the status updates had been popularized by Facebook and BBM. Also, WhatsApp required no PIN, no email address, nothing. What? So, anybody who has your number saved on their mobile device could text you?

Wow, thinking back, WhatsApp has come a long way, from being “too boring”, It saved the day by bringing in software updates , though slow, but was welcomed for providing endless possibilities which seem to keep us hooked.

Privacy Issues

Major concerns were raised with the birth of WhatsApp. One of them being, the application required uploading the user’s whole Phonebook/Contacts to access who has and who hasn’t downloaded the App. Now since, other apps required PINS and email addresses and you could always ‘un-sync’ your address book, Whatsapp couldn’t function without access to Phone contacts and thus, a lot of countries had privacy and data encryption issues with regards to security and even contact information and access to private conversations. The internet was shrinking and privacy of a person’s phone number no longer existed.

Recent years have seen WhatsApp go through many software updates and changes that can, to an extent, hide a person’s profile visibility though the matter of message encryption still exists. I must give them some credit, I believe, WhatsApp probably started focusing on improving the app and bringing in more features rather than reacting to criticism. Of late, ability to block a person from your address book, hiding the profile visibility and availability has been introduced. Viewing, saving and downloading media sent through WhatsApp though, cannot be censured but sure can be restricted and deleted. Well, the internet comes with privacy issues and I’m pretty sure WhatsApp can handle them.

Security Issues

WhatsApp had its share of haters and hijackers and they deal with it regularly, from programs that let you read others’ conversations to encrypted messages that could be decoded and access was unrestricted.

Recently, two Indian boys had found a method to crash any user’s WhatsApp account, by merely sending a message full of emojis and the size of the message being bigger than 2 KB, could freeze the whole application and cause for it to shut down.

Solution being, to delete the whole conversation without opening the chat should fix the problem. Seems like a super cool trick to try on your friends but as long as you know how to end it, without having to hate WhatsApp for its faults. We got your back, WhatsApp!

WhatsApp Hacks

  • Change your WhatsApp number seamlessly by going into settings->account->change number.
  • Block people from WhatsApp by Settings->account->privacy->blocked. Use this feature to block all unwanted people from accessing your profile picture or status, I use this whenever I need to share my number with new people, specifically watchman, tailors, electricians, drivers etc. Never too late to be safe than sorry!
  • If you’re too bothered by group messages and their constant distractions then I know you know this feature but never use it. Well, you should, settings->Notifications->group notification off. And if you don’t want to do even this then open a group, click on the name of the group that opens up the profile page of the group and click on Mute, and select on how many ever days you want it off. This feature can be used for individual chats as well as group chats.
  • Save a few messages and access them by “starring” them and view them on the settings page and click on starred messages and access all the starred special messages.
  • USE the Hide Last Seen or Hide Status or Hide Profile Picture option! You can save it to views from Everybody, My Contacts or Nobody. Especially for us ladies, you can save yourself from being viewed by strangers or people who are not saved in your Contact List. I highly recommend this.
  • If your gallery is filled with WhatsApp media and if everything gets stored in your phone memory then you can change settings to Auto Media Download -> Save incoming media -> OFF so that you can view the media on the app, and if you need to save it then open the picture/video and click Save. Simple!
  • Read messages without having people viewing the 2 blue ticks. Switch on the airplane mode Apple devices and read the messages, then when you switch it back off, the blue ticks will appear when you next open the App.
  • You can also mark the last messaged on a conversation as Unread by swiping right on the chat list page and Mark as Unread.
  • Archive a chat and by swiping left on the conversation and the whole chat window disappears from the chat list and you can view the chat by rolling down on the chat list page and on the top of the page, will you find all your archived chats.
  • In a conversation, you can view who all have viewed your message by swiping left on your message in a chatand here appears the “Read by”, “Delivered to” page. Helps with group messages!
  • Now, I am not too fond of this one but you can crash a person’s WhatsApp by sending a message filled with emojis and if this message size is more than 2KB, then when the receiver opens this mysterious message, their whole app crashes. Solution, delete the whole conversation on the chat list next time you open the app and prevent the crash.

Well, these are all very basic hacks but useful ones. So make the changes to your liking!

Latest News

WhatsApp made news all around the world when it was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for a whopping $19 Billion. Nearing at a billion users, speculations flew if WhatsApp would be working on the module for advertisements after the giant’s acquisition. But they dismissed all rumors and still exist to function without any advertisements, promotions.

The latest big update on WhatsApp was the call feature and chances are that, in future they might add WhatsApp video calling and though it’s too early to say anything for sure, but this feature would be widely welcomed and even though there are alternatives for WhatsApp, this one still can steal the show due to its popularity.

In Jan 2016, WhatsApp announced that they are dropping their subscription fees totally. What seemed to have existed for Android and iPhone users around the world was now dismissed and although, not a lot of countries faced this issue, this move favors the popularity of WhatsApp and can be seen with the increasing number of users and downloads every single day.

Now in the tech world, we know nothing sticks, but for years now, WhatsApp seems to be a hit and we hope they continue to.

Updated on 21-Jan-2020 09:48:49