WhatsApp, the popular mobile instant messaging service now claims to have 20 million million monthly active users in India, part of its worldwide active user base of 300 million. It is also rolling out push-to-talk voice messaging allowing users to send and receive voice messages in real time, with the ability to play them within the app and without any limits for duration.
The mobile focused messaging company told AllThingsD that its user base has crossed the 20 million mark in countries such as India, Germany, Mexico and Spain, and that users send 11 billion messages and receive 20 billion messages per day. WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum also told the publication that 325 million photos are shared every day on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp is now introducing push-to-talk voice messaging in the app on all mobile platforms including iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Nokia (Series 40 and Symbian). While WhatsApp used to let users send audio messages of limited duration (2 minutes on the iPhone app) as an attachment, it involved a number of steps including recording the message and sending it, and messages played through the default audio player. However, with push-to-talk, everything happens with a single tap. Users just need to hold a microphone button, located next to the compose box, to record their message and release it to send the message. In case the user decides not to send it, simply swipe to the left and delete it.
Unlike the audio notes feature, there's no duration limit for the voice message, and the message is automatically played through the earpiece if a user holds the phone close to his/ her ear, to emulate the experience of a walkie talkie. Just like the two checkmarks that denote a delivered message, a blue microphone indicates if a message has been played.
The feature will be gradually rolled out to all users within 24 hours, as per WhatsApp.
WhatsApp's competitors like Voxer and WeChat also offer similar voice chat features.