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Monthly round up - Whatsapp hits 1 billion users and more

It's only been one month into 2016 and we're barely hanging onto our seats. In between Whatsapp hitting one billion users and Facebook messenger introducing an exciting new range of features, Instant Messaging seems to be taking on a new form each and everyday.

Some of the biggest highlights so far:

1.Whatsapp hits 1 billion users

Now we all knew this moment would come, we just didn't think it would get here so fast. After 7 years of being in use, messaging service Whatsapp announced just days ago that they had hit the covetous 1 billion mark. Which basically means that 1 in every 7 people WORLDWIDE uses the application.

When Facebook agreed to pay a staggering $19 billion for WhatsApp in February of 2014, their justification was simple - The messaging service was expected to reach 1 billion users targeting a significant and essential size of the world’s population.

Image source , Venture Beat

Now that the 1 billion mark has been reached, the company announced on their blog that they won’t stop there...there’s still another 6 billion people out there who are not using the service .

So even as we celebrate this achievement, our focus remains the same. Every day, our team continues to work to improve WhatsApp's speed, reliability, security and simplicity. We're excited to see how far we've come. But now, it's back to work – because we still have another 6 billion people to get on WhatsApp, and a long way left to go.

The company also announced that they will begin testing more business oriented services by enabling businesses to engage their client's via the platform.

One thing's for sure, with all these recent developments, this isn't going to be the last time we're talking about Whatsapp.

2. Telegram introduces inline bots

We’ve always been huge fans of the Telegram bot platform , a service that allows users to create automated bots that have the ability to do a wide and unique range of things. From checking bills to downloading gifs and teaching students, telegram bots are proving to be useful, fun and engaging additions to the platform.

Recently, the company launched inline bots which are a quicker way to use and introduce bots in your conversations .

With the new inline mode, bots become omnipresent and can be used as a tool in any of your chats, groups or channels – .. Inline bots can help you with dozens of different tasks, like quickly sending relevant GIFs, pictures from the Web, YouTube videos, Wikipedia articles, etc. Inline bots don't see any messages in your chats – they only receive what you type after their username in the input field.

Find out how you can create your own bot here .

3.WeChat turns 5

Chinese founded messaging service, WeChat turned 5 in January. In just half a decade , the app has grown to have nearly 650M monthly active users around the world.

When it comes to functionality, WeChat is miles ahead of any other messaging app currently available in the market. With its superior business , payment and communication platform. The app has evolved from a messaging service into a lifestyle tool

We would like to take this time to say “Thank You” to all our users. You make WeChat what it is today. Look forward to continuing to serve you and your lifestyle.Today marks a half a decade since WeChat was first introduced. It has been an amazing journey and evolution to now 650M monthly active users around the world. - WeChat blog reads.

Image Source . WeChat

WeChat has also begun venturing into Western markets, by fostering partnerships with companies such as Western Union. Read about it here

4.Messenger hits 800 million users

At the start of the year, Messenger announced that they had hit 800 million users, making it the fastest growing app of 2015 and the second most popular iOS app behind Facebook.

2015 was a year when we made significant improvements to how we enable people to communicate. Among other things, we made Messenger blazing fast, we introduced video calling, the ability to customize conversations with colors, nicknames and emojis, and with Businesses on Messenger, we introduced a new way for businesses to engage their customers by providing them with a delightful, personal experience. - Dave Marcus , VP of Messaging Products

The company also chartered out their 2016 road map which includes a whole new range of features such as A chat bot platform, offline communication, artificial intelligence, customized threads and much more.

5.Good Bye to the old , Hello to the new

Just when you thought that you’d seen it all, two new messaging apps are pushing the boundaries of speed, privacy and anonymity. Introducing Hiboo and Blindspot.

Hiboo is a new messaging app that allows users to see what the other person is typing in real-time- eliminating the need for a send button. The company says that the ‘real time effect' adds a new dimension to messaging where the process of typing becomes the communication medium."

"You're glued to your screen. She's typing, but she's been typing for five minutes. Four words finally arrive. Ever been curious about what she didn't say? Hiboo puts an end to this frustration. You see everything that is sent through," - Company statement.

While another recently launched app Blindspot, allows users to send completely anonymous text messages to each other. The app requires users to register with their phone number, which is withheld from the texts they send. Recipients, prompted by SMS, must themselves download the free app to see any messages, photos or videos sent.

While the two apps present interesting concepts Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx says

Sometimes there is a gap in the market, but not necessarily a market in the gap, ...There are plenty of messaging apps out there, and people will always gravitate to what they are more comfortable with using...messaging apps do not necessarily have to push boundaries, but need to continue to improve and adapt to people's needs."

This is the first article in a monthly round up series where we shall feature and discuss the latest trends in the Instant Messaging world. Stay tuned for next month’s feature.

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