Without getting into technicalities, let’s talk about WhatsApp in layman terms. Basically, it’s a Smartphone App designed to use the internet to connect people the world over with their near and dear ones, including family and friends and business contacts – hence, it’s popularity among millions of immigrant users from across the world.
It has the ability to allow Smartphone users to exchange text messages, documents including MS Word and PDF files, pictures and images, audio and video, user location, phone contacts, voice messages/notes in addition to making and receiving voice and video calls – and all this in real-time, depending on the internet connectivity.
The company WhatsApp Inc., is headquartered in Mountain View, California, taken over by Facebook in February 2014 at a ballpark figure of US$19.3 billion.
Jan Koum, the brains behind the original idea of WhatsApp and naming it such that it sounded like “what’s up,” is an immigrant himself, born in Ukraine in 1976.
The family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 1990s when Jan Koum was just a teenager. It’s a sad story of a family that had to struggle for existence; his mother having to sweep the floor of a grocery store, and even babysit, to support the family.
Although millions of immigrants have faced, and are still facing, grave difficulties there are a number of rags-to- riches stories of immigrants, as well.
One such success story which is worthy of mention is that of Jan Koum, the founder of WhatsApp, a company that he sold to Facebook for approximately US$ 19.3 billion in February 1974.
The reason for the noteworthiness of his story, his WhatsApp story, is that he was instrumental in connecting millions of immigrants all over the world thru his App in real time with excellent features, mentioned earlier, and still free of charge in many countries.
Although there are other platforms or Apps available for similar services, WhatsApp remains the most preferred App by immigrants to stay connected with anyone they prefer to.
WhatsApp has even been used by refugees, Syrian refugees in recent times, to help their fleeing families and friends passing along tips, suggestions, guidance.
In a way, it has dominated the communication scenario as far as immigrants are concerned – many non-immigrants, or natives if you like, also enjoy the benefits of WhatsApp. Its popularity is amazing, especially among immigrants.
WhatsApp after Facebook takeover:
At the time Facebook acquired the company in February 2014, WhatsApp had already earned its reputation – otherwise what other reason would have compelled Facebook to buy it for over US$ 19 billion.
Under Facebook ownership, the company grew from an estimated 417 million active users to around a billion as of February 2016.
According to Wikipedia, “On November 10, 2016, WhatsApp has started rolling out two-step verification feature for users on Android beta. This feature will add more security to your account, officials said. After enabling this feature, users will also get an option to add their email address for further protection”
Well Done, Jan Koum, Facebook, and immigrants!