Beyond Texting: Chat Apps Are Free, Easy, And Nice to Look At

WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger send more than 60 billion messages a day.

By Alain StephensJune 1, 2017 2:44 pm,

Remember dialing a phone number, and perhaps leaving a voicemail, to get in contact with a loved one or co-worker? Well those days are quickly becoming a distant memory. Chat programs such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have made it easier to talk to anyone around the globe.

According to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, the networks behind those two bits of software process more than 60 billion messages a day and there is no sign that pace will slow down. But do these chat apps offer more than ease of use? Digital savant Omar Gallaga of the Austin American-Statesman’s 512 Tech thinks so.

Gallaga says chat apps first became popular when people needed a way to avoid charges for text messaging and phone calls. Now, it’s about more, including highly visual interfaces that are optimized for mobile use.

Gallaga says WhatsApp is among the most successful chat apps, especially outside the U.S.

“It started out as a $.99 a year chat app that had no marketing whatsoever,” he says. “It was all word of mouth. But they created a very good, easy mobile experience that would just grab your contacts from your phone and tell you who was on it.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– How chat apps keep data usage light

– What privacy implications people should be aware of