By now, you would have probably seen a Facebook status update by a friend enthusiastically informing you on the big blue’s US$19 billion takeover bid on WhatsApp, the ubiquitous mobile messaging service.
The acquisition effectively puts WhatsApp as a company more valuable than for example, the American Airlines (US$12.3 billion) – not bad for a company with only 50 employees as compared to the latter’s close to 88,000 workers!
While Facebook has explicitly said that WhatsApp will “continue to operate independently and retain its brand”, it has not stopped netizens and bloggers from raising the alarm over how the the former may ruin WhatsApp with ads.
So what’s next for our beloved WhatsApp? We give 3 predictions of how the app may transform into:
1. Ad panels
In a blog post on WhatsApp’s official website, co-founder Brian Acton wrote that “nothing” would change for the users. With 450 million active monthly users, I think it would be too tempting to not monetise the app (or some cynics would say – the data collected!).
We have seen how the first Instagram ad was published on November 1 last year, almost seven months since Facebook bought it. I would not bowl over if ads start appearing on WhatsApp in the future, but if it was to happen, expect a clean and proper presentation that might look like this:
2. Post your FB status update on WhatsApp
Who knows, but perhaps Facebook’s latest purchase could put itself in an ever more stronger position against the little adorable bird, Twitter.
Facebook may try to close the gap in user interface between the two companies but it is difficult to change user habit. In this case, Twitter is still the go-to for most people for real-time conversations and updates.
Thus, since WhatsApp pitches itself as a “personal real-time messaging network”, it would be interesting if Facebook could allow users to post its status updates across platforms too.
3. Send an Instagram-ed photo straight!
Imagine if we could send a country-inspired, nashville-d image to a friend or a group of friends instantly. That would make WhatsApp more productive, saving time for users to personally share such vintage-looking images. The only problem with this is it would effectively make Instagram Direct well … redundant.
What do you think?