Just this morning, an Indian friend was gushing about the (almost) free text messaging app WhatsApp (costs $1 a year after the first free year).
My buddy was blah-blahing about how useful WhatsApp was during his peripatetic travels.
And in an odd coincidence, a few hours later I learned India was the biggest market for WhatsApp with 48 million users (Brazil is second with 45 million users).
The easy explanation for WhatsApp’s success in Mera Bharat Mahaan is that Indians love to clamber on anything cheap or free!
I understand there’s a Text tsunami underway around the world with billions of messages sent and received every day.
I wonder what people/Indians text each other about.
Based on media reports, I know teens are into sexting a lot. No surprise there given the raging hormones! 😉
But what about grownups? Are grandma and grandpa also into sexting? Maybe! The world is a lot weirder than we can imagine!
Besides facilitating the core task of exchanging texts, photos and videos, I understand messaging apps can also be used for file transfers, which I suppose makes them useful for techies.
I send no more than two or three texts a year, sometimes less.
Back in the old days, my text messaging app was AOL IM, then shifted to Hotmail’s Messenger and of late I’ve been using Apple’s free iMessage app, which comes pre-installed on iPhone, iPad and iMac.
In the last nine years I’ve sent no more than 20 texts (of which three or four were today). I’m not joking! Almost all the text messages I sent or received over the last nine years were piffle (except the one where a buddy in Philadelphia sent across a picture of a Hustler cover)!
I downloaded WhatsApp to my iPhone 5S about six months back but never activated it.
WhatsApp rivals include cross-platforms apps like Line and Viber, and iMessage (Apple platforms only).
Just in case you were hiding under a rock, Facebook acquired WhatsApp in February for $19 billion.
With so many messaging rivals (some free), I doubt if Facebook is going to be able to make money off WhatsApp.
It’s not because the app is cheap or free.
Of course, thats an added benefit but its primarily because the app is great and very convenient to keep in touch with friends n family across continents. I see no difference between receiving an SMS and a WhatsApp message.
I don’t text 24/7, but I do text a lot. You can also create groups and with a single touch, you get to know what your friend or family member is doing.
I have used imessage, Viber and Line. While Viber and imessage are not bad, they come no where close to WhatsApp. Viber is primarily used to make calls.
You write: You can also create groups and with a single touch, you get to know what your friend or family member is doing.
One of the many pitfalls of technology!
“The easy explanation for WhatsApp’s success in Mera Bharat Mahaan is that Indians love to clamber on anything cheap or free!”
I guess the behavior to clamber on anything for free is applicable to people from almost 70% in the world???
And by the way, I don’t see anything wrong in it as long as people don’t cling on to cheap, dumb options in the desperation to save cost.
As they say, “You cannot be penny wise, pound foolish”. Just my two cents
You write: I guess the behavior to clamber on anything for free is applicable to people from almost 70% in the world???
I’d go as far as to say it’s 90%.
With Indians, it may be 95%.
But how these WhatsApp guys will make money beats me! $1 a year after the first free year is not much.
I doubt Indians will be willing to pay even 1 Rupee a year when there are other free messaging options.
I have been a heavy whatsapp user for quite a while.
They have been doing a fantastic job of keeping it simple, doing one thing and doing it really well. The free part helps too 🙂
There has been some noise that they are going to do voice and other things, hope the Facebook guys don’t make an aol messenger out of this.
You write: hope the Facebook guys don’t make an aol messenger out of this.
Back in the old days (I’m talking late 1990s here) any time I logged to AOL Messenger/Chat sessions, the first question that would pop up from other online members was – ASL (Age, Sex, Location).
God knows how many ages, sexes and locations I had those days. 😉
SI says : God knows how many ages, sexes and locations I had those days.
It must have been during the Spring years of SI ! – “Ilamai Unjajal aadum podhu” …… quite understandable SI !
Now about Wapp:
It’s fantastic ! I have been using Wapp to the fullest ! Living Continents apart from family & friends, I get to know, see and hear instantly as things happen back home in India ! Thanks to my family & friends who send text messages , pics, videos and voice messages – I feel that, I am in their midst, on all special occasions of Festivals, weddings etc – all free of cost ! has really saved a lot of money on IDD Telephone Calls !!
My day starts with a smile – with the daily dose of reading the jokes sent on Wapp by Friends – here are a few sample for you SI
“Change cannot be Created for you every time…..
You must Bring the Change yourself”
Ramanna, Bonda Shop.
Moral : Dayavittu Chillare Kodi !.
A boy asked a girl: Ninna hesaru yenu ? (Whats ur name ?)
Girl replied : Yetti Thorslaa illa haage hidala ? (Shall I lift & show or just keep it?)
Boy : ???
Girl : Nanna Hesaru “AARTHI”
Girl asks the Boy: Ninna hesaru yenu ? (Whats ur name ?)
Boy: Kaige Kodalaa illa Bai olagade idala ? ( Shall I Give it in your hand Or put it in your mouth ?)
Girl: Stupid ! Nonsense ! Don’t you feel ashamed to talk so vulgarly ?
Boy : Nanna hesaru “PRASADA” antha.
Grandfather to Granson : Go n Hide ! Your teacher is coming ! as you bunked School today.
Grandson to Grandpa : YOU go n Hide ! I told her, you PASSED AWAY !!
Doctor to Patient : Kaise aana hua ?
Patient : Doctorsaab, thabiyath teek nahi hai.
Dr: Sharab peetha hai kya ?
Patient : Peeta tha hoon, par chhota peg hi banana Doctorsaab, I’am not feeling well !!
1. Ha ha ha! 😉
Nimma, Prasada joku baala channageidhe. Entha seehi maatu! (The Prasad joke is good).
Eega ello katale continentinalli idhangae idhay, neevu (you seem to be living in the Dark Continent)?
Are there many Indians in your country?
2. I’ve sent out more texts in the last seven days than in all of the last 10 years combined, all via iMessage (free from one Apple user to another)!
Here there are only a few thousands as compared to DXB where I was before – there were Lakhs there – all around u see only Indians!
Start using ur WhatsApp – we the Schmucks ! Can bombard you with daily doses of Jokes, Pics n Videos – Specially the Indian Political Satires.
There are some parts of New Jersey (Oak Tree Rd in Edison/Iselin) where the only people you’ll see are either Indians or the Maderchods (Pakis).