WhatsApp and Gmail have both achieved a significant milestone—reaching the 1 billion users mark. Both companies made their announcements today at almost the same time.
While Gmail's achievement was lauded at its parent company Alphabet's Q4 2015 earnings call, WhatsApp made its announcement on the app's blog just a few minutes later.
WhatsApp said that it had added nearly 100 million users over the past five months, bringing the total to the magic-billion mark. This means that nearly one in seven people in the world use the mobile messaging service. The achievement comes just a week after Facebook, which owns the company, announced that it would be scrapping the app's $0.99 annual fee.
"We are proud of this milestone, and we're humbled by the extraordinary ways all of you have used WhatsApp," the company wrote on its blog. It also added:
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.
In a post on Facebook, WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum said 42 billion messages were sent, 1.6 billion photos and 250 million videos shared everyday on the platform.
WhatsApp, which was launched in 2009, was acquired by social networking site Facebook for a whopping $19 billion in February 2014. Back then, it had only 450 million monthly active users. In less than two years, the app has more than doubled its user base, beating even Facebook's Messenger, which has about 800 million users.
One billion people now use WhatsApp. Congrats to Jan, Brian and everyone who helped reach this milestone! WhatsApp's...Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Monday, 1 February 2016
Jan Koum, founder of WhatsApp, was obviously elated, though he couldn't help making a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that Silicon Valley has never really recognised his company.
one billion users and not a single Crunchie award. Leo, I feel your pain brother... @LeoDiCaprio— jan koum (@jankoum) February 1, 2016
The guys at Google were also in a celebratory mood as the company announced having hit 1 billion users. The company said that it had added 100 million users since last May and more than doubled its users from 425 million in 2012.
Thanks a billion for helping us make Gmail better and better!https://t.co/Rd82YqwGjl— Gmail (@gmail) February 1, 2016
Even though Gmail, which launched in 2004, took much longer to hit 1 billion users, Google has six more products that have more than a billion monthly active users—Android, Chrome, YouTube, Maps, Search and Google Play.
However, both companies are still a long way behind social media leader Facebook, which has about 1.59 billion users.