WhatsApp crosses 500 million monthly active users in less than 5 years of its inception

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WhatsApp today announced it has crossed 500 million monthly active users. It took the mobile messaging service less than five years to achieve the milestone since Jan Koum and Brian Acton founded the service in June 2009. WhatsApp says Brazil, India, Russia and Mexico are its fastest growing markets. Users are sending more than 700 million photos and 100 million videos over WhatsApp every single day.

WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook earlier this year for a whopping $19 billion. Earlier this month, WhatsApp announced it was processing 64 billion messages every day. WhatsApp is also planning to introduce voice calling feature that will enable users to make free voice calls over the Internet without having to create an account. Like messaging on WhatsApp, users will be able to make calls to other WhatsApp users if they have their number.

Here’s a brief timeline of WhatsApp’s growth:

June 2009 – WhatsApp is incepted by two of former Yahoo employees, Brian Acton and Jan Koum, to provide an alternative of SMS services to users. The messenger app allows users to send unlimited messages over Internet connection without needing the regular top up credits. Most importantly, the service is launched at a nominal one-time payment of $0.99.

April 2011 – WhatsApp grows as a popular data-based messaging service and receives $8 million in funding from investors, which helps the company grow further.

October 2011 – WhatsApp continues to grow stronger, and the number of messages sent through the app touch a billion messages per day mark. Despite popular services like iMessage on Apple devices and BlackBerry Messenger, WhatsApp continues to grow.

August 2012 – It was not even a year since WhatsApp had achieved the one billion messages per day mark, and WhatsApp records 10 billion messages being sent per day, ringing danger bells for other companies.

December 2012 – Rumors emerge about Facebook being in talks with the messaging platform for a possible acquisition.

January 2013 – WhatsApp announces it processed 18 billion messages on New Year’s Eve, which reflects its popularity among its users. The number also shows that the platform has become a perfect substitute for SMS.

April 2013 – Once again rumors of WhatsApp’s acquisition related talks emerge, however this time it is Google that is rumored to have made a $1 billion offer for buying out the service.

June 2013 – Even with the arrival of new apps in the market to give competition to WhatsApp, the service continues to grow. It breaks its own record and processes a whopping 27 billion messages per day.

June 2013 – For the first time, WhatsApp reveals it has crossed 250 million monthly active users, which makes it bigger than Twitter.

October 2013 – WhatsApp’s user base crosses 350 million monthly active users mark, which includes over 20 million users in India.

December and January 2013 – WhatsApp user base grows by another 50 million to reach 400 million monthly active users. Creates a new record by processing 54 billion messages sent over a day on New Year’s Eve.

February 2014: Social networking giant Facebook finally acquires WhatsApp over a year after reports about the possible acquisition talks surfaced on the web. The deal is worth a staggering $19 billion, which involves $4 billion in cash, about $12 billion in Facebook stock, and $3 billion in restricted shares.