Instant messaging service WhatsApp has added push to talk voice messaging to its apps across Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, BlackBerry and Nokia.
The company also said that it now has over 300 million monthly active users. India, along with Germany Mexico and Spain has over 20 million active users (source). This would make it one of the biggest instant messaging apps in India, with its competitors like Line claiming to have over 5 million users.
The instant messaging space is seeing an interesting battle with over a dozen players vying for user’s attention. The apps which basically allow users to send each other messages for free using an Internet connection have added various features like stickers, offline messaging, games and voice messaging in a move to stay relevant. Apps like WeChat and Line have also been aggressively marketing their apps in India with television ads.
WhatsApp, which is one of the oldest players, is usually slow to release new features. Over the last couple of months, WhatsApp has updated its app to allow users to send batches of photos in one go.
WhatsApp is not the first to include the push to talk feature with others like WeChat and Facebook Messenger having the service for months. What is interesting to note is that the feature does not need the app updated and automatically appears in the app once rolled it. Users will find a microphone button next to compose text window and one has to keep it pressed to record and send a voice message. There is no limit on how long the audio recording can be.
The app is free on Android and other platforms but charges a $0.99 yearly subscription after the first year. The iOS app which was paid, moved to this model last month.
The company also told AllThingsD that is sends 11 billion messages and receives 20 million messages per day, up from the total 27 billion it announced in June. It also said that WhatsApp users share 325 million photos per day.
So what’s next for WhatsApp, could it add live video conferencing next? We will just have to wait and see.