WhatsApp is a free to download, instant messaging app which can be installed on iOS, Android and Windows phones. WhatsApp was created as a texting alternative, running from WIFI or the user’s existing cellular data plan rather than using SMS allowances.
WhatsApp users connect with one another using phone numbers and you cannot search for users by name. The app can browse the contacts that already exist in your cellphone to find people who are already using WhatsApp so that you can start chatting to them instantly. In order for the app to browse your existing contacts, you will have to allow it access.
Users can have direct, one-to-one conversations or create groups of people with the purpose of forming a group chat. Group chats can be personalized by the user by adding a name to the group and a group display image. Within any chat, users are able to share messages, images, videos and send audio messages as well as sharing their location. Another feature of WhatsApp is the possibility to send out a ‘Broadcast Message’. When someone sends out a broadcast message, they can select multiple people in which they would like to send it to. It will go to everyone that the user has selected.
WhatsApp users have the ability to set the status of their availability. They can do so by either selecting one of the pre-set options such as; available, at school, at work or in a meeting or they can create one of their own, composing a personal message.
The app can be customized to the user’s preference. It can be customized by choosing a ‘Screen name’ to be displayed to friends within chat as well as providing the option for users to add a profile photo, change conversation backgrounds and edit chat bubble colors. All the people you contact most frequently will be added to a page called ‘Favorites’ so that they are easier to find when you are trying to start a chat with them.