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If your response to WhatsApp is “what’s a WhatsApp?” then don’t worry, you’re not alone.  This new messaging app has recently received a booming interest and adoption rate over the past years, now boasting a billion global users over multiple platforms.  That sounds like you’ve missed yet another technology trend, but it’s not too late to hop on and see what all the fuss is about.

Why WhatsApp?

What makes this messaging app more attractive than other popular alternatives is the combination of media-centric IM functionality and cross-platform accessibility.  Everything is built around uncomplicated usage; just download the free app from your respective device’s app store, plug in your country code and number, then fill in the username and profile pic as per usual.

Starting a conversation with someone is a few taps away from the home screen, this includes IM, voice, and quick photo messages.  Group messaging is also very simple with WhatsApp’s chatroom-like feature.  You create the group, select the contacts, and administer the group chat as you would any other chatroom, by adding mods, to help keep conversations in order and civil.

It all sounds so easy and straight-forward, and it is, the app works as it should, which is why it has blown up to the new leader in app messaging around the world.

Free is Good

Not only is WhatsApp free to download and use now, it also has its own built-in feature to allow for free phone calls to other fellow WhatsAppers with data usage.  This is a great way to get around horrible long distance or international fees.  Nothing special is required to access data-to-data calling, just that both callers are using their data line and that they know their data plan to avoid any expensive mistakes.  You may not, however, use this method to use emergency services, though.

Extra Features

WhatsApp is not only good with their calling features, they also have their own web interface that lets you browse your account options on your computer.  They handle this through a creative workaround by syncing your web browser with the WhatsApp, letting you browse all the features at a glance.  This also allows you to go through your conversations and call history on a proper screen.  WhatsApp will display which computers have access to your account, and the ability to log them out, which is a nice touch that shows they care about your privacy and security.

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t try WhatsApp at this point.  Even if you’re not the talkative teenage type, it still makes for a great networking tool for business, for example.  The group chat function is one of the best virtual conference tools out there.  Besides, how else are you going to tell office jokes by using 3 emoji’s to all of your coworkers, followed by a reply from the boss posting a meme that motivates, scolds, and 1-ups your joke all at once?  You have to download WhatsApp if you want to know What’s Up.