It was just eight years ago, in February 2009, when we started writing the first lines of code for what would eventually become WhatsApp. The original idea behind the project was to build an application that lets your friends and other contacts know what you're up to. This was months before we added messaging. The first version of our app looked like this:
Even after we added messaging in the summer of 2009, we kept the basic "text only" status functionality in WhatsApp. Every year, when Brian and I would plan projects to work on, we always talked about improving and evolving this original "text only" status feature.
We are excited to announce that, coinciding with WhatsApp's 8th birthday on February 24, we are reinventing the status feature. Starting today, we are rolling out an update to status, which allows you to share photos and videos with your friends and contacts on WhatsApp in an easy and secure way. Yes, even your status updates are end-to-end encrypted.
Just like eight years ago when we first started WhatsApp, this new and improved status feature will let you keep your friends who use WhatsApp easily updated in a fun and simple way. From all of us at WhatsApp, we hope you enjoy it!
Our goal at WhatsApp has always been to help as many people as possible stay in touch with friends, family, and others they care about. That means making a product that’s simple, easy to use, and accessible no matter where you are. We started with messaging and Group Chat. Then we added voice calling. And we did it in a way that works across thousands of device and platform combinations all over the world.
Today we’re excited to announce the next step in our efforts to connect people – WhatsApp video calling. In the coming days, WhatsApp's more than one billion users can make video calls across Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone devices.
We’re introducing this feature because we know that sometimes voice and text just aren’t enough. There’s no substitute for watching your grandchild take her first steps, or seeing your daughter’s face while she’s studying abroad. And we want to make these features available to everyone, not just those who can afford the most expensive new phones or live in countries with the best cellular networks.
Over the years we’ve received many requests from our users for video calling, and we’re excited to finally offer this feature to the world. Thank you for using WhatsApp and we promise to keep working hard every day to improve the service.
Today we’re introducing new ways to customize and enhance the photos and videos you share with friends and family around the world. With WhatsApp's new camera features, you can now write or draw on photos and videos, as well as add emoji to express yourself.
When you capture a new photo or video or share one that's already on your phone, you'll automatically see the new editing tools. Whether you’re drawing a big red heart to show how much you miss someone or adding your favorite emoji - sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. Try adding text too, and change the color and font style.
The WhatsApp camera feature now supports the front-facing flash so you can take the perfect selfie. In low light and at night, this will brighten up your screen and improve the quality of your photo. We've also added a convenient zooming feature for recording videos - just slide your finger up and down to zoom in and out. And to quickly switch between front and rear facing cameras, double tap on the screen.
These new camera features will be rolling out on Android phones starting today and on iPhone soon. We hope you enjoy these new features when you share your next photo or video.
We're also updating these documents to make clear that we've rolled out end-to-end encryption. When you and the people you message are using the latest version of WhatsApp, your messages are encrypted by default, which means you're the only people who can read them. Even as we coordinate more with Facebook in the months ahead, your encrypted messages stay private and no one else can read them. Not WhatsApp, not Facebook, nor anyone else. We won’t post or share your WhatsApp number with others, including on Facebook, and we still won't sell, share, or give your phone number to advertisers.
But by coordinating more with Facebook, we'll be able to do things like track basic metrics about how often people use our services and better fight spam on WhatsApp. And by connecting your phone number with Facebook's systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them. For example, you might see an ad from a company you already work with, rather than one from someone you've never heard of. You can learn more, including how to control the use of your data, here.
Our belief in the value of private communications is unshakeable, and we remain committed to giving you the fastest, simplest, and most reliable experience on WhatsApp. As always, we look forward to your feedback and thank you for using WhatsApp.
For more than a year, people have used WhatsApp Calling to talk with friends and family around the world. It's a great way to stay in touch, especially when connecting with people in other countries, or when messages alone won't do. Today, more than 100 million voice calls are made every day on WhatsApp - that's over 1,100 calls a second! We're humbled that so many people have found this feature useful, and we're committed to making it even better in the months to come.
Today we're introducing a desktop app so you have a new way to stay in touch anytime and anywhere - whether on your phone or computer at home or work. Like WhatsApp Web, our desktop app is simply an extension of your phone: the app mirrors conversations and messages from your mobile device.
The new desktop app is available for Windows 8+ and Mac OS 10.9+ and is synced with WhatsApp on your mobile device. Because the app runs natively on your desktop, you'll have support for native desktop notifications, better keyboard shortcuts, and more.
To download the app, visit https://www.whatsapp.com/download from your desktop browser. Then, open the app and scan the QR code using the WhatsApp app on your phone (look for WhatsApp Web menu under Settings).
Just like WhatsApp Web, the new desktop app lets you message with friends and family while your phone stays in your pocket.
WhatsApp has always prioritized making your data and communication as secure as possible. And today, we're proud to announce that we've completed a technological development that makes WhatsApp a leader in protecting your private communication: full end-to-end encryption. From now on when you and your contacts use the latest version of the app, every call you make, and every message, photo, video, file, and voice message you send, is end-to-end encrypted by default, including group chats.
The idea is simple: when you send a message, the only person who can read it is the person or group chat that you send that message to. No one can see inside that message. Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us. End-to-end encryption helps make communication via WhatsApp private – sort of like a face-to-face conversation.
If you're interested in learning more about how end-to-end encryption works, you can read about it here. But all you need to know is that end-to-end encrypted messages can only be read by the recipients you intend. And if you're using the latest version of WhatsApp, you don't have to do a thing to encrypt your messages: end-to-end encryption is on by default and all the time.
We live in a world where more of our data is digitized than ever before. Every day we see stories about sensitive records being improperly accessed or stolen. And if nothing is done, more of people's digital information and communication will be vulnerable to attack in the years to come. Fortunately, end-to-end encryption protects us from these vulnerabilities.
Encryption is one of the most important tools governments, companies, and individuals have to promote safety and security in the new digital age. Recently there has been a lot of discussion about encrypted services and the work of law enforcement. While we recognize the important work of law enforcement in keeping people safe, efforts to weaken encryption risk exposing people's information to abuse from cybercriminals, hackers, and rogue states.
While WhatsApp is among the few communication platforms to build full end-to-end encryption that is on by default for everything you do, we expect that it will ultimately represent the future of personal communication.
The desire to protect people's private communication is one of the core beliefs we have at WhatsApp, and for me, it's personal. I grew up in the USSR during communist rule and the fact that people couldn't speak freely is one of the reasons my family moved to the United States.
Today more than a billion people are using WhatsApp to stay in touch with their friends and family all over the world. And now, every single one of those people can talk freely and securely on WhatsApp.
Jan and Brian
Earlier this week WhatsApp turned seven years old. It has been an amazing journey and in the coming months we're putting an even greater emphasis on security features and more ways to stay in touch with the people that you care about.
But anniversary dates are also an opportunity to look back. When we started WhatsApp in 2009, people's use of mobile devices looked very different from today. The Apple App Store was only a few months old. About 70 percent of smartphones sold at the time had operating systems offered by BlackBerry and Nokia. Mobile operating systems offered by Google, Apple and Microsoft – which account for 99.5 percent of sales today – were on less than 25 percent of mobile devices sold at the time.
As we look ahead to our next seven years, we want to focus our efforts on the mobile platforms the vast majority of people use. So, by the end of 2016, we will be ending support for WhatsApp Messenger on the following mobile platforms:
- BlackBerry OS and BlackBerry 10
- Nokia S40
- Nokia Symbian S60
- Android 2.1 and Android 2.2
- Windows Phone 7
- iPhone 3GS/iOS 6
While these mobile devices have been an important part of our story, they don't offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app's features in the future.
This was a tough decision for us to make, but the right one in order to give people better ways to keep in touch with friends, family, and loved ones using WhatsApp. If you use one of these affected mobile devices, we recommend upgrading to a newer Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone before the end of 2016 to continue using WhatsApp.
UPDATE: WhatsApp is extending support for BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10, Nokia S40 and Nokia Symbian S60 until June 30, 2017.
As of today, one billion people are using WhatsApp.
That's nearly one in seven people on Earth who use WhatsApp each month to stay in touch with their loved ones, their friends and their family.
We are proud of this milestone, and we're humbled by the extraordinary ways all of you have used WhatsApp. Whether it's sharing vital information during natural disasters or health emergencies, finding a date, growing a small business, buying an engagement ring, or seeking a better life – we're honored to be a small part of what people are doing to make their lives and the lives of those around them better.
And yet, through all the progress we've made together over the last seven years, our mission has never changed. WhatsApp began as a simple idea: ensuring that anyone could stay in touch with family and friends anywhere on the planet, without costs or gimmicks standing in the way.
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.
Nearly a billion people around the world today rely on WhatsApp to stay in touch with their friends and family. From a new dad in Indonesia sharing photos with his family, to a student in Spain checking in with her friends back home, to a doctor in Brazil keeping in touch with her patients, people rely on WhatsApp to be fast, simple and reliable.
That's why we're happy to announce that WhatsApp will no longer charge subscription fees. For many years, we've asked some people to pay a fee for using WhatsApp after their first year. As we've grown, we've found that this approach hasn't worked well. Many WhatsApp users don't have a debit or credit card number and they worried they'd lose access to their friends and family after their first year. So over the next several weeks, we'll remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service.
Naturally, people might wonder how we plan to keep WhatsApp running without subscription fees and if today's announcement means we're introducing third-party ads. The answer is no. Starting this year, we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from. That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight. We all get these messages elsewhere today – through text messages and phone calls – so we want to test new tools to make this easier to do on WhatsApp, while still giving you an experience without third-party ads and spam.
We hope you enjoy what's coming to WhatsApp, and we look forward to your feedback.