WhatsApp, to much fanfare, just made the transition to end-to-end encryption. This was touted by most who enjoy privacy as a win. Others were not so certain, saying that this encryption promise lulled WhatsApp users into a false sense of security and distracted those same users from the information that WhatsApp both collects and shares.
Regardless, it’s a much-used app in most every country. Its popularity has long stagnated in the United States, which may in part account for this business move: on the heels of the Apple-FBI debacle, WhatsApp may see an opportunity to capitalize on encryption’s newfound buzzworthiness. Many Americans use the app to message with friends in other countries, and it’s verifiably ideal for accomplishing that task.
But what else ought to motivate you to leap from your phone’s native messaging app — iMessage, say — to WhatsApp? Here are six could-be reasons that may lead you to, at last, make the jump.
WhatsApp is now the largest, most popular messaging system in existence with over one billion users. Even Edward Snowden trusts Open Whisper Systems, the company responsible for the encryption. Politicians hate it, which is generally a good sign. End-to-end encryption ensures that only you and your messaging partner will read the content of your exchanges — no matter the mobile platform, no matter the media.
(Know, however, that if you’re really concerned about your privacy, there are better options out there.)
2. Free, Cross-Platform, Multimedia Instant Messaging and Calling
WhatsApp used to charge users $1 per year after a year of free service, but recently nixed even that negligible fee. (Given that it has one billion active users, it kissed that money goodbye.) Now it’s completely free to instantaneously message any media across all borders and all platforms. (It’s, as they say, “platform agnostic.”)
3. You Can Repeatedly Pour Your Heart Out to Overseas Lovers
Since it’s so popular overseas, and since it’s completely free, it’s useful for your long-distance cross-cultural romances. Or so one Wall Street Journal journalist journals, writing about the benefits of WhatsApp:
“the messages were with a woman of great beauty and conversational smarts…”
“And once it’s open, the marginal cost of sending one more message, or sharing one more picture, is so close to zero that before you know it, you’ve sent a few thousand of them, in a few months, to a beautiful woman a couple of thousand miles away.”
4. You’ll Soon Be Able to Chat With Banks and Airlines
If for some reason that really excites you, read all about it.
5. Facebook Thinks It’s Worth $19 Billion
If you’re an active user, that means Facebook thinks you’re worth 19 bucks.
6. WhatsApp Cares About Its Own Name
Its own name’s spelling, that is.