Last night WhatsApp crossed an important milestone of 300 million monthly active users and celebrated it by launching a Push To Talk like voice messaging feature. But the company isn’t resting on its laurels and is already working on new features for its mobile messaging service.
In conversation with ATD, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO, Jan Koum gave a few hints on what’s coming up next on WhatsApp and what’s certainly not. First stuff that isn’t coming – ads. Kaum disapproves of the idea of serving ads on a messaging platform, which he believes is what’s different between WhatsApp and its increasingly growing number of rivals. “Can you imagine if that woman had to watch an ad before she wrote to her husband?” asks Kaum, pointing to the Santiago de Compostela train disaster in Spain last month where a woman buried in rubble was able to text her husband her whereabouts using WhatsApp.
Another thing that isn’t coming to WhatsApp is games. He doesn’t want to convert WhatsApp into a big gaming platform banking upon the service’s 300 million strong users that log in to the service at least once every month. Instead, Kaum would rather spend six months iterating on what seems to be a tiny feature like voice messaging, which is already available on competing services.
What’s interesting, however, is the new feature that Kaum’s team seems to be working on. Without revealing any details he mentioned that the focus would be around media-related products, essentially calling out photos and videos. And why shouldn’t they considering WhatsApp users share 325 million photos every day. Would it be a cloud-based photo gallery or album? Or simply giving users the ability to add filters, a la Instagram, before they share them? Or a Vine like video service. We will get to know for sure in the coming months.