The number of messaging app users have exceeded 3 billion in the past year, thanks to apps such Viber, WeChat, and the popular WhatsApp which, alone, leads the pack with over 800 million users. Such massive growth in the use of messaging apps has not only led to the emergence of specialised versions of these apps, but also to an increase in the interest of utilizing these apps for business gains.
A number of successful apps did very well in serving and focusing on certain areas. For instance, Snapchat introduced the ability to exchange pictures that disappeared after few seconds. This allowed users to share sensitive pictures that can’t saved or shared by others. Yik Yak, on the other hand let users remain completely anonymous while FireChat enabled them to communicate without internet or cellular service.
Besides the value many of these apps offer, the time users are spending on them has encouraged investors around the globe to value them heavenly. Apps suchs Slack have attracted major interest in the business world as powerful productivity tool for work. Slack, a messaging service which comes as web app, desktop app and also a mobile app, was developed for the purpose of replacing email as the primary communication channel in organizations. Within one year of its release, the number of Slack users grew to 500,000 with each user spending an average of 135 minutes a day on the service.
Beside Slack, other startups have emerged including HipChat Quip which offer similar concept. However, this doesn’t imply that established firms are not far behind. Cisco, for instance has recently launched a service called Spark that, along with the conventional messaging features, allow users to communicate through voice and video. IBM also is following suit with Verse, an upcoming email service that employs artificial-intelligence to sort messages and even auto-reply to minimize the communication burden and reduce time wasted in reading messages.
Even the instant messaging market dominator have plans of their own. Facebook is set allow messaging services to become platforms on top of which other services can deliver apps and content, with all sorts of means to generate revenues. The social network giant intends to go even further with its Messenger by turning it into a point of integration for other services. For instance, users will be able to open other app simply by tapping on a link in the messages.
There is no denying few services such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Snapchat were the first to offer valuable services to mobile users, but the new breed of startup chat companies are standing comfortably on their shoulders with achievable visions of revolutionizing chat platforms and dominating the mobile web, perhaps as much as Google and Facebook dominate the web as we know it.