WhatsApp is a simple, free-to-use communications app to send messages to other WhatsApp users. You can send simple text messages, images, video, documents, and make calls. You can start conversations with one person, or create and join group conversations. WhatsApp can use your internet connection instead, helping you reduce your mobile bill.
WhatsApp began in 2009 as an idea between Brian Acton and Jan Koum, former employees of Yahoo. Around the time the App Store became a feature on iPhones, Acton and Koum saw the potential apps could have. After buying an iPhone, the pair began working on WhatsApp - a portmanteau of sorts putting "what's up?" and "app" together in one word.
WhatsApp shot to success and was bought by Facebook for about $19.3 billion US dollars in 2014. WhatsApp is popular among smartphone users, with over 1 billion people worldwide using the app. This makes WhatsApp the most popular messaging application app in the world. A former popular messaging app, MSN Messenger, only had around 330 million users.
One of the main elements to the app that attracts users is the security. WhatsApp maintains a strong, end-to-end encryption of all messages and calls. This means that only the people you chat or speak with will see it. Such encryptions also means the team at WhatsApp can't access your information.
To get started, users need to enter in their mobile phone number. This acts as your unique ID on the service. Friends and family that also use WhatsApp can be added to your contact list, if you allow WhatsApp to read your phone contacts. From there, choose the person you want to start a conversation with and start messaging! Whether it's texting a college friend to organize a study group, sending funny GIFs to your friends, or calling family, WhatsApp can do all that, and more.