Most of us might have woken up to a message saying that WhatsApp would be free for a lifetime. That meant that everyone using the application in any part of the world would not have to pay for it anymore. Of course, that’s a good move.
But in this version of our ‘In Short’ series, we decided to explain why the instant messaging application was made free and what this could mean to us.
Initially, WhatsApp was free only for a year after it is installed on a device. After a year, users would have to pay a dollar to continue using the application for another year. However, this subscription was not forced and in many locations, users were given free extensions for another year or so.
Currently, WhatsApp has more than a billion users, with 900 million being extremely active. The messaging application is also used in many businesses for official conversations. If WhatsApp is made free, how will it begin earning money?
It was clearly mentioned that WhatsApp will not display ads on the app, since it would badly reduce user satisfaction. Instead, it is planning to work with businesses to use WhatsApp to send messages instead of SMS.
For example, if you book a cab on Ola or Uber, you might get a message on WhatsApp rather than an SMS. This might increase the number of downloads for the application and it might provide a bigger base for the development of WhatsApp.
On the other hand, there are also claims that WhatsApp could retrieve sensitive user data and sell it to companies and the government. This means that someone might be reading your messages all the time. However, the company mentioned that it is serious about the privacy of users. The founder of WhatsApp also said that the company is trying to encrypt messages, which means that a third party cannot easily read them.