I’ve been a WhatsApp user since it was in beta testing on Nokia phones more years ago then I’d like to remember. So to say I’m well versed in it would be an understatement. I LOVE using apps and services that I believe can and will change the world and WhatsApp is one of those apps/services. When it first started Jan one of the co-founders and my contact person at the company back in the day was living in a van and wanted to create a messaging service that would liberate people from paying per message. Back then it was all text messages and it was expensive. I don’t remember exactly how much but somewhere between ¢5/message and ¢25/message. If you were a heavy texter that could really add up. Jan’s app was perfect for me because I had family and friends living in several different countries and there was no way I was going to pay for international texting. So I jumped into using WhatsApp and it was amazing. I remember forcing my sister to download WhatsApp on her Nokia phone while our families were at a Bed and Breakfast in Israel. I don’t remember what she thought but I knew this was going to allow us to communicate like never before. This app was going to change the world or at least my world.
Fast forward nearly a decade and more than a billion people use WhatsApp every single day. Now you can make phone calls, group phone calls, video calls and group video calls. You can have group chats with hundreds of people at once. Celebrities use WhatsApp to have 1 way communication with their fans. Communities use WhatsApp to let people know what’s going on around them. WhatsApp has changed the world.
Now to my point… Why haven’t we seen more from WhatsApp??? I know they were purchased by Facebook back in 2014 and things changed. They got way more corporate and had to answer to a mega corporation but I’m waiting for WhatsApp to break out with new features.
One big issue in the US for WhatsApp is iMessage but people are sick of the blue bubble green bubble argument and if we just all switched to WhatsApp that would be solved.
Here in the US we are primed for WhatsApp Pay (I know I know it will be backed by Facebook Pay) because all our smartphones are now compatible and there are millions of new point of sale (POS) machines everywhere. WhatsApp money could be a HUGE win for my favorite app.
But there’s so much more as well. Retailers can get into the pockets of customers if they offer weekly coupons via WhatsApp.
My favorite Acai Bowl place Simply O could offer their customer rewards program through WhatsApp.
There are so many possibilities it’s endless but I’m not seeing the innovation I’d like. It’s time for WhatsApp to take some big leaps and become the de facto messaging app in the US like it is in many other countries across the world. Plus take advantage of that and forage into all these other possibilities.