WhatsApp With Facebook Taking Over the World?

Double the pleasure, double the fun.
I try my best to keep up with all the web goings-on that the kids are into: For one, it's a part of my job and for two, it makes me feel not so old. But I won't lie; I had never even heard the word WhatsApp before two weeks ago when my step-mother, who lives in Mexico, suggested I download it so we can chat. Yes, my step-mother told me about it. I am lame.

But now, WhatsApp is all over my radar - and everyone else's who cares about Facebook's world domination -- due to the purchase of the app by Mark Zuckerberg and Co. If you are like me and had not heard of the app before, or even before reading this right now, it is basically a text messaging application that enables you to chat with people via the Internet. It's like Skype but for texting, and it's free for the most part.

Last week, Facebook shocked the universe by buying the app for a whopping $16 billion dollars! Billion with a B. Thus far, this is the largest purchase of a start-up ever in the history of the word start-up.

After the initial shock, analysts are now applauding Facebook on an absurd amount of money well spent. According to the people who know how to crunch numbers, the app, which currently has more than 450 million users, will soon enough hit a billion users and then it's payday.

Fox Business says:

Assuming WhatsApp evolves along similar lines of monetization as its peers while maintaining the same pace of user growth (Mark Zuckerberg expects the service to surpass one billion users in the next few years), Evercore says Facebook could derive $10 billion in revenues from the service by 2016.

So there you go, I guess.

But why purchase a text-messaging service when you are the biggest social media site and you already know everything about everyone... except their friends who are not on Facebook. Dun dun dunnnn!

There are several conspiracy-type theories out there of why Facebook wants in on your address book, which it now has access to with WhatsApp. For one, there has been a recent trend in younger people dropping off of Facebook in exchange for apps like Whatsapp that employ small-scale conversations with actual friends. On the flip side of that, older people tend to have much smaller social circles on Facebook and with access to their phonebooks, Facebook can expand its reach. So they've got you if you are jumping ship or still slowly boarding.

And of course once they have you and your grandma and aunt Sally and creepy cousin Cliff, they've got access to their likes and dislikes and that means advertising and that means dolla' dolla' bill, y'all.

Maybe in the United States we aren't downloading the text messaging app much because we've all got unlimited texts from our Walmart phones, but that is not the case overseas. India, for one, is a country that has been steadily using the app more and more on a daily basis. Additionally, many of the countries that use the WhatsApp messenger don't have access to the Internet and this is another thing Zuckerberg wants to change.

"Our mission is to make the world more open and connected," he wrote. "We do this by building services that help people share any type of content with any group of people they want. WhatsApp will help us do this by continuing to develop a service that people around the world love to use every day."

What a good guy to want to help connect people around the world. Aww. That's charitable of you to want them sucked into your sticky, evil web of data mining.

This story continues on the next page.

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