WhatsApp Turns on Encryption for All Platforms

In a move that is sure to rile the FBI, following the law enforcement agency’s feud with Apple over its refusal to unlock the iPhone of a suspect in the San Bernardino shooting, instant messaging app WhatsApp has added end-to-end encryption to every iteration of its software on every platform, providing added security to an additional one billion users.

“Building secure products actually makes for a safer world, (though) many people in law enforcement may not agree with that,” WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton told WIRED.

“We’re somewhat lucky here in the United States, where we hope that the checks and balances hold out for many years to come and decades to come. But in a lot of countries you don’t have these checks and balances,” added Jan Koum, the second co-founder of the company. “The argument can be made: Maybe you want to trust the government, but you shouldn’t because you don’t know where things are going to go in the future.”

Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive of WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook, was a vocal supporter of Apple during its court struggle against the FBI. “We’re sympathetic with Apple,” Zuckerberg said during a technology conference in February. “I don’t think requiring back doors into encryption is either going to be an effective way to increase security or is really the right thing to do.”

WhatsApp to End Support For Older Operating Systems

WhatsApp is a cross-platform messaging client which allows users to exchange text messages, images, video content, location details and audio files. As of February 2016, WhatsApp has a user base of up to one billion which makes it the most popular messaging application in the world! Back in February 2014, Facebook acquired the company for an estimated $19.3 billion and clearly sees the application growing at an impressive rate. Recently, Facebook made an announcement regarding its new focus on the latest mobile operating systems to provide a better user experience. The statement reads:

“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.

“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.”

By the end of 2016, WhatsApp will no longer be supported on:

  • Blackberry, including Blackberry 10
  • Nokia S40
  • Nokia Symbian S60
  • Android 2.1 and Android 2.2
  • Windows Phone 7

This makes sense because Blackberry’s current smart phone position is very weak, and they are trying to encourage handset sales via the Android operating system. On another note, when WhatsApp was first introduced, around 70 percent of smartphones utilized operating systems by Blackberry and Nokia. In today’s market, iOS and Android account for 99.5 percent of sales. This demonstrates the dramatic shift, and struggles faced by anyone trying to gain a foothold in the smart phone sector.

WhatsApp Now Absolutely Free

WhatsApp has announced that its messaging app will now be available for free, dropping its previous yearly subscription fee, and adds that it will not be introducing third-party ads in order to make up the deficit.

“[W]e’re happy to announce that WhatsApp will no longer charge subscription fees,” the blog announcement reads. “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.”

The service denies that it will carry ads to compensate for the loss of subscription fees, saying instead that it will start supporting official communications between users and businesses.

“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 blog post continues. “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 wantto 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.”

While the blog post does not state so, it is likely that WhatsApp will charge businesses for putting them in touch with its users, thereby retaining its revenue stream.

Here is Why You Might Have Trouble With WhatsApp Tonight

Today is one of the days where most calls are made and most messages are sent, and that goes for the whole world. Traditionally people have been using the normal phone connections and the SMS features of their phones. With the modern times come new possibilities and new services, and I’m naturally talking about Instant Message (IM) services such as WhatsApp and Skype. But users of WhatsApp might have a tough time using their favourite app to send out New Years greetings as users report of the service being down over most of the world.

It started out with reports around 4 pm this afternoon with trouble in the UK and Europe in general. It has since then become worse and users from all over the world are reporting trouble with the service. Asia reports of the service being down most places and the same reports come in from African and South American users. Users can’t connect and those that manage to login can’t get their messages to send. Some users have also posted comparison screenshot of sent and received video chats that show some of the trouble before the entire network collapsed. That feature is however still in beta testing as far as I know, I’m not a WhatsApp user myself.

It is currently unknown what has happened and if it just was a normal overload or someone actively is attacking the network, but you might want to find another service to send out your greetings and especially not rely on this service for important messages from friends such as where to meet up in town later tonight. But then it is good that we have so many other options that work on the computer too and not just on the cell phone, such as Facebook messages, Google’s Hangout, Skype, and many more.

The service was initially restored after just 45 minutes of downtime. However, it quickly crashed again and has been nothing but trouble since then. Have you been affected by the WhatsApp outtake or couldn’t you care less? Let us know in the comments. Below are some comments about the outtake from Twitter and you can find many more hilarious ones if you should have a boring night with nothing else to do.

https://twitter.com/Giliprogre/status/682660231667650561

https://twitter.com/TalhaAyaz1/status/682660154270171139

Whatsapp Was Temporarily Banned in Brazil

One day after a court order in Sao Paulo banned the popular social messaging app for the entire nation of Brazil, WhatsApp is back in action across the country. In a decision that is likely bringing relief to the 93 million strong user base of WhatsApp in Brazil, Judge Xavier do Souza ruled that it was “not reasonable that millions of users be affected by the inertia of the company”.

In a nation where phone bills and contracts are often prohibitively expensive, many Brazilians make use of messaging apps such as WhatsApp to communicate with friends and family, both locally and abroad. It came as a shock then, when as of midnight on Thursday, local time, a 48-hour ban came into effect on the service across the country’s network providers. The ban came courtesy of a judge in Sao Paulo, who, as a result of WhatsApp’s refusal to hand over data pertaining to a gang member on trial over criminal actions, opted to issue a nation-wide ban on the service for 48 hours as a sanction.

This did not go down well with the online community, both in and outside of Brazil, with many taking to social media to show their outrage at the court’s actions. Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg released a statement decrying the blocking of the service and pointing people towards Facebook’s own messaging service.

Tonight, a Brazilian judge blocked WhatsApp for more than 100 million people who rely on it in her country.

We are working hard to get this block reversed. Until then, Facebook Messenger is still active and you can use it to communicate instead.

This is a sad day for Brazil. Until today, Brazil has been an ally in creating an open internet. Brazilians have always been among the most passionate in sharing their voice online.

I am stunned that our efforts to protect people’s data would result in such an extreme decision by a single judge to punish every person in Brazil who uses WhatsApp.

We hope the Brazilian courts quickly reverse course. If you’re Brazilian, please make your voice heard and help your government reflect the will of its people.

-Mark Zuckerberg

Meanwhile, WhatsApp’s rival services, most notably Telegram were enjoying a large influx of users courtesy of the ban. Telegram alone reportedly gained as many as 1.5 million users from the blocking of its rival, causing their registration servers to choke under the sudden load.

While the ban was eventually overturned by another judge, it is worrying that a country that is commonly seen as an ally of net neutrality has the ability to ban a service nationwide on the ruling of a single judge, with no known consultation. Hopefully, both the country of Brazil and the rest of the world will take note that attempting to ban their citizens from such services unreasonably will not go down without a fight.

French Prime Minister Denies Tor and Public Wi-Fi Ban Demand

Earlier this week, leaked documents revealed that French police were pressuring President Francois Hollande (pictured above) to ban the Tor browser and to block public Wi-Fi in a state of emergency. Hollande’s Prime Minister, however, has denied that any such demand was made, and added that the French government would not entertain such a notion in the name of “freedom”.

“A ban of Wi-Fi is not a course of action envisaged,” Prime Minister Manuel Valis said, as reported by English language French Newspaper The Connexion, which adds that France has plans to outlaw Tor, either.

“Internet is a freedom,”Valis added. “[It] is an extraordinary means of communication between people, [and] it is a benefit to the economy.”

Police liaison DLPAJ revealed that law enforcement bodies were also seeking the powers to “require [service] providers to give security forces access codes” for communications applications, such as Skype, Viber, and WhatsApp.

France has been in a state of emergency since the Paris terror attacks that took the lives of 130 people on 13th November, and will run until 26th February, 2016. Valis warned, though, that the period could well be extended on that date, saying, We can’t rule out that possibility, depending on the level of danger, and we have to act with a great deal of responsibility.”

Image courtesy of Business Insider.

 

Telegram Links are Being Blocked in WhatsApp

Facebook has been accused in the past of blocking links to some of its rival companies, which is why it didn’t surprise us too much to find out that WhatsApp might be blocking links to Telegram. According to several users, it looks like any links pointing towards the privacy-orientated messaging service are being blocked on purpose, but it’s also worth noting that not all users are experiencing the same problems. The links in question are visible, but they can’t be accessed or copied, and Facebook hasn’t issued an official response at the time of writing. As for Telegram, it actively reported to The Verge that Facebook will surely try to blame the issue on an “intelligent filtering” error instead of admitting to its own actions.

While it certainly wouldn’t be odd for Facebook to block these links on purpose, we can’t really be sure of anything right now. The social media giant has purchased WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion, and so it’s fair to say that Facebook has a pretty good idea of what’s going on. It could all just be a big software flaw, even though it’s quite a coincidence that the links point to one of WhatsApp biggest competitors. Pavel Durov, the CEO and founder of Telegram, even posted a Tweet regarding the issue.

WhatsApp’s Promise of True Encryption Proven False

Last year, the Facebook-owned messaging app Whatsapp, in a move applauded by privacy advocates, announced that it would be introducing end-to-end encryption to protect user data from being intercepted in transit, viewable only by sender and receiver. While, strictly speaking, WhatsApp did as it promised – using a system designed by Open Whisper Systems, creator of the Edward Snowden-endorsed messaging app Signal – it turns out that a fatal flaw in the encryption method has left a security hole that can be exploited, researchers from Brno University of Technology in the Czech Republic have discovered [PDF].

The Brno University researchers were able to reverse-engineer WhatsApp’s security protocol, which could give them access to supposedly encrypted messages sent via the app. How did it manage this if end-to-end encryption is really being implemented? While WhatsApp is using what is known as Public Key Encryption, it is using the same public key for every person, meaning that anyone who can decipher the key can access messages sent by any user, and that WhatsApp itself can access sent messages, something it claimed its end-to-end encryption would prevent.

An oversight like using the same public key for every user appears too specific to be accidental. Was WhatsApp presenting the illusion of end-to-end encryption to hide a secret backdoor from its customers? It’s a move that would certainly have the approval of the UK Government.

UK’s WhatsApp Ban Ruled Unlawful

UK Prime Minister David Cameron plans to ban any online messaging platform that uses end-to-end encryption, such that it would be unreadable by the country’s intelligence services, has been deemed “inconsistent with [European Union] law”. Messaging apps that use end-to-end encryption, such as the popular WhatsApp, Apple’s iMessage, and image sharing platform Snapchat, are protected under the EU’s Article Eight of the European Convention on Human Rights. Home Secretary Teresa May, creator of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill – or ‘Snooper’s Charter’ – has, however, appealed the decision.

The ‘Snooper’s Charter’ has been met with vocal opposition from both users and tech companies alike. Apple CEO Tim Cook declared that his company has “never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services […] and we never will.”

“In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which, even in extremis, with a signed warrant from the home secretary personally, that we cannot read?” David Cameron said back in January. “Are we going to allow a means of communication where it simply isn’t possible to do that? And my answer to that question is no we must not. The first duty of any government is to keep our people and our country safe,” he added, using the age-old trick of citing terrorism prevention to infringe on civil liberties, despite the fact it doesn’t work.

Even MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip and Nazi poster boy Boris Johnson is towing the Tory Party line of not giving a damn about human rights, saying, “I’m not interested in this civil liberties stuff. If they’re a threat, I want their emails and calls listened to.”

For all its faults, the European Union is the only body standing up for privacy and human rights in the face of Owellian levels of mass surveillance. Long may that continue.

Thank you The Express for providing us with this information.

Here Is the Truth About WhatsApp’s Middle Finger and Vulcan Salute Emojis

There’s been a lot of talks about some middle finger and Vulcan salute emojis previously found in the desktop version of WhatsApp. Metro found the emojis packed away in WhatsApp’s bundled files, but thought they were a secret.

However, The Next Web explained that they are not actually secret emojis, but something that has yet to be added as usable emojis. Yes, the actual truth is that we are going to get a middle finger emoji in the near future, but it seems that it will not be restricted to WhatsApp.

According to The Next Web, both emojis have been approved in Unicode 7 and might be included in Windows 10. With a little bit of time and luck, we might even see them embedded as native emojis on mobile, namely on iOS and Android.

So yeah, if you wanted to salute in a cool geeky way or have someone in your WhatsApp list who you were dying to send something like this, you won’t have to wait long. In the meantime, you can just send a picture instead. So what do you think? Are the latter emojis something you are looking forward to or think we need? Let us know!

Thank you TheNextWeb for providing us with this information

David Cameron Plans to Ban WhatsApp

Since Edward Snowden spilled the beans on how government agencies spy on us, a lot of companies took precautions in preserving users’ privacy when using their apps. But it seems that will be made illegal and such apps look to be banned in the future, at least in the UK, according to Prime Minister David Cameron.

The PM plans to pass a new legislation by the name of “Snoopers’ Charter”, which will have popular cross-platform messaging and social media apps banned. The first one on the list seems to be WhatsApp, but the legislation looks to prevent people from sending any form of encrypted messages and has iMessage, as well as SnapChat in its sight too.

“In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which we cannot read?” said Prime Minister Cameron .”My answer to that question is: ‘No, we must not’.”

It is said that if the legislation passes, all three aforementioned services will be banned in the UK. Furthermore, all Google searches, Facebook conversations, WhatsApp group messages and even SnapChat videos will be available to the UK police and Government officials when they want to ‘browse’ through them. But is this really for the best? Do we need to compromise our privacy for security? Or are we giving away our security along with our privacy? Let us know what you think.

Thank you Express for providing us with this information

UK Privacy and Apps Under Threat

Let me just jump on my soapbox for a minute with regards to this subject, according to reports, the newly elected Conservative Government wants to again reintroduce the Snoopers Charter, sorry, I mean the new fangled “Investigatory Powers Bill” which if enacted would allow the government and security services for example M15 access to everyone’s communications.

To add insult to injury the plans would also make end to end encrypted apps for example Snapchat and WhatsApp technically illegal, unless a backdoor is installed or communications are handed over. All in the name of terrorism and extremists, now I am not being flippant and I am aware that groups such as IS exist, but I do not believe everyone’s communications should be spied upon.

This bill if passed would also require all ISP (Internet Service Providers) to retain all information on every citizens browsing habits, sites which are looked at and information which is sent, with the aim of making this information available to the security services.

So what do the tech experts believe? They have stated that these laws are draconian, anti free speech and would put the whole Internet at risk from hackers. Who would be able to crack any backdoor laid before them by the powers that be. Opposition includes Tim Cook who is the boss of Apple who said citizens should be entitled to a private life; academics from MIT and the UK have both dismissed these proposals as a disaster.

So what can we do about it? The only thing as citizens we can do, make our voices heard, I believe there should be a limit to what governments can collect, innocent people should not be spied upon in their own homes, I do think we need to track for example suspected terrorists movements, but I think in order to be under surveillance, you need evidence and a court of law to approve this, not simply cart blanch can we have your data and monitor everyone.

The mantra for governments is quite clear, “let us spy on you or you can only use certain communication tools approved by the state”. I think it would be impossible to ravage the internet of encryption, but I do think this bill is designed and will be able to collect more information on everyone.

I have started a petition on this over at change.org if you are interested in checking It out, link is below, will it work?  Hell I will be damned if I am going to lie down quietly and let the state turn into a whole new animal which polices everyone, which notion is brought to you by the good folks in China, North Korea and Russia among many.

Petition at Change.org

Thanks to BBC News, Huffington post  (who plan to encrypt their website further) and Facebook trends

Image Courtesy of automation

 

 

WhatsApp Messages Led to Belgian Terror Arrests

The FBI have been trying hard to get unlimited access messages passed by encrypted messaging services. However, it apparently didn’t need that level of access to WhatsApp messages sent between members of an alleged Chechen jihadist group operating in Belgium. According to reports released. A pair of men were arrested and warrants were issued for three others for allegedly preparing for a terrorist attack in Belgium.

Ars Technica posted:

“The arrests followed raids in which 16 people were detained, which Belgian law enforcement officials said was the result of “working with U.S. authorities to monitor suspects’ communications on WhatsApp Inc.’s messaging service,” Bloomberg’s Gaspard Sebag reported. The police investigation began after they obtained information about a man who had returned to Belgium after fighting as a jihadi in Syria.

Ars reached out to WhatsApp and to Facebook, which completed its acquisition of WhatsApp in October. A spokesperson from Facebook declined to comment on the matter.”

WhatsApp began encrypting their messages last November. In theory, if the encryption service was in use by the alleged terrorists, the content of their messages would have been very difficult to read; the protocol continuously changes pairs of encryption keys with each new message. But it’s uncertain that the messages were encrypted—particularly since the version of encryption is not supported by the Apple iOS version of WhatsApp, and group messages and images aren’t supported by WhatsApp for Andriod yet.

“Even if some of the messages remained protected by encryption, it’s possible that the FBI or NSA gathered metadata at the server for the messages. That metadata could have been used to establish the connections between the suspects and the wounded jihadi, which would have allowed the US agencies or Belgian law enforcement to do more targeted surveillance.”

Thank you to ArsTechnica for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of  RedmondPie

WhatsApp Free Voice Calls Come to IOS

Under a month ago WhatsApp released free voice calls to their Android users. Now the Facebook-owned company have begun rolling out the feature to its iOS customers.

Similar to the launch on Android the change was first spotted by eager users, the update will not roll out to all Apple device users at once. The company have stated that the feature will become available over the next couple of weeks. That is a lot quicker than the Android deployment but you’ll still need some patience.

There are currently over 800 million monthly active users that use the WhatsApp service the feature has potential to upset a lot of carriers who have already seen their text message revenues ruined by the plethora of messaging apps available on the market.

The iOS update also features some more changes. Including support for the iOS 8 share extension which allows you to send photos, videos and other social related options to the WhatsApp application. You will be able to send multiple videos at once and can edit them on the fly too.

I have not personally used the application on my Sony Xperia Z3 but I have heard some great reviews. Let us know what you think of the App and the features it has in the comments below.

Thank you Tech Crunch for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of GeeksFlame

WhatsApp Released for Desktop

WhatsApp is now available for desktop in the form of an in-browser web app, compatible for now only with Google Chrome.

Since WhatsApp requires an associated mobile phone number to log in, users need to scan a QR code from the web app using their smartphone to access the desktop version. The online version works in conjunction with Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone, but not yet with iOS devices  “due to Apple platform limitations”.

Since the WhatsApp is connected through your phone, it only works for as long as your phones does: if your handset loses battery life, the web app disconnects.

The WhatsApp web browser is available here.

Source: TechCrunch

Messaging App Strings Allows Users to ‘Unsend’ Texts

A new messaging app for iOS allows users to delete sent texts from the recipient’s phone, whether they’ve read them or not. The app, called Strings, allows users to send and receive texts, images, and videos in either individual of group chats, but with a set of customisable privacy controls. Users can control who can save and download images and videos, and remove sent messages, either individually or as an entire thread.

Though String hails itself as a more private and customisable version of messaging apps WhatsApp and Snapchat – its tagline is “You pull all the strings” – it has no facility to stop users from taking screen captures.

Strings has just launched in the US. There is no word yet as to whether the app will be rolled out internationally.

Source: The Independent

WhatsApp Involved in Almost Half of All Italian Divorces

A new article by GlobalPost says that nearly half of all divorce proceedings in Italy refer to WhatsApp.

The Italian Association of Matrimonial Lawyers told the publication that WhatsApp is cited more so than any other source of information that acts as the cause of a divorce. They say that partners more than often find evidence of infidelity via snooping on their other half’s sent and received messages in the app.

“No one is saying WhatsApp is the cause of the divorces,” says Gian Ettore Gassani, president of the Matrimonial Lawyers group. “The leading cause is infidelity, but WhatsApp is now the most common way for one partner to discover infidelity in the other.”

Interestingly, they also say that men more so than women are the ones that get caught out due to WhatsApp, as females are more quick to delete sensitive messages than males.

“Men are most likely to save messages or photos from lovers they can go back to,” Gassani says. “Women are more likely to take one look and then delete.”

The article is an interesting look into the blend of traditional Italian attitudes towards infidelity with modern communication technology.

Source: GlobalPost

WhatsApp Introduces End-to-End Encryption

In a move applauded by privacy advocates, instant messaging service WhatsApp is introducing end-to-end encryption of user data on Android devices, meaning that any messages sent through the app cannot be decrypted by anyone, making it impossible for government agencies to access that data by any means.

The encryption protocol has been provided by Open Whisper Systems, a collaborative open source project. The protocol is still a work-in-progress, so doesn’t yet work for group messaging or interactions that contain videos or photos, but Open Whisper Systems promise to address these issues in future. Open Whisper Systems announced the news on their blog, saying,  For the past three years, we’ve been developing a modern, open source, strong encryption protocol for asynchronous messaging systems, designed to make seamless end-to-end encrypted messaging possible.

“Today we’re excited to publicly announce a partnership with WhatsApp, the most popular messaging app in the world, to incorporate the TextSecure protocol into their clients and provide end-to-end encryption for their users by default.”

Source: ars technica

Criminalised for Receiving Images via WhatsApp

Two young men from the U.K. have been given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £500 for the possession of extreme porn. This in it self is a great thing, things like that need to end. The real bizarre twist of the story is, the 2 men in question did not get it themselves nor did they want it.

The got sent the imagery in the instant messenger WhatsApp, and upon seeing what it was, they deleted it without even watching it to the end. Unaware that a second copy was stored in the camera roll, they were still in possession on it and that is breaking the law.

Both pleaded guilty to possessing the images on their smartphones. Kelly pleaded guilty to one count of “possessing an extreme pornographic image likely to cause injury”, and three counts of possessing pornographic images involving animals. Ticehurst admitted one count of possessing an extreme pornographic image as well as two counts of possessing pornographic images involving animals.

The images were found after Police had stopped the two men for unrelated matters and a routine inspection of their phones was carried out. Both men defended themselves in court. Kelly said he had deleted the received videos from his WhatsApp, adding that he was unaware that images were saved to his camera roll. “I didn’t even watch the full content of the video. It was very sick and disturbing,” he told the court.

“You have pleaded guilty to possessing truly disgusting images,” Judge Worsley said adding “It makes a big difference if someone goes out of their way to seek it, or if they’re sent it by some mischievous colleague.”

Even after the judge’s leniency and appearing to have accepted the indirect means the duo were sent the offending images he still imposed a significant punishment. It is literally like trying to convict someone of possessing an e-mail selling illegal viagra. There will be lots of truly innocent individuals caught up in these kind of charges.

Thank you Sex & Censorship for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of WhatsApp.

Microsoft Mistakenly Presents WhatsApp For Windows 8

Microsoft unintentionally revealed some never-before-seen Windows 8.X apps at its Worldwide Partner Conference yesterday. In a presentation given by marketing executive Tony Prophet Microsoft discussed the progress they have been making with their Windows 8 Apps and their Windows App Store. Upon the demonstration system running desktop Windows 8 Microsoft paraded apps for WhatsApp, WeChat and Pandora: three apps not seen before on Windows 8. Just as everyone started to get excited by the new apps it turns out that these apps will not be made available on the Windows 8 platform after all, they are merely Windows Phone 8 apps that Microsoft mis-presented. WhatsApp’s business head even came out to confirm it was a mistake by Microsoft and that they are not developing WhatsApp for any desktop or notebook platforms. Good job Microsoft…

Source: Softpedia

Image courtesy of Softpedia

WhatsApp Goes Down Just Days After $19bn Acquisition

With a huge user base of more than 450 million monthly users, WhatsApp is nothing short of extremely popular as a method of getting touch with each other. This obviously got the attention of the Zuckerberg clan as Facebook recently spent an appallingly large amount of money acquiring the app, $19 billion to be exact, although around $15 billion of that is Facebook shares.

Unfortunately for the new owners, things aren’t going especially smooth this week, as the apps users are reporting mass outages, prompting the company to tweet “We hope to be back up and recovered shortly.”

The service only appeared to go down for a few hours, but when you have such a large user base who may have been relying on the series, then you’ve got a huge amount of unsent messages hanging on your network. No doubt  Facebook can deploy some serious investment into the companies infrastructure in the not to distant future.

Personally I didn’t even notice that the service had gone down yesterday, but I do rely on it quite a lot to stay in touch with friends and family, so fingers crossed they’ve got it all sorted.

Thank you Sky for providing us with this information.

Facebook Will Buy WhatsApp For $16 Billion In Cash and Shares

Recent news point to Facebook engaging into an agreement to purchase the popular mobile messaging app, WhatsApp, for $16 billion in cash and stocks. The Verge states that a SEC document filed recently confirms the purchase agreement.

The same plan of action was filed with the pruchase of Instagram as well, that being the ability of WhatsApp operating as an independent messaging application and not integrated into Facebook’s Messenger, stating that the purchase will accelerate Facebook’s aim to bring socializing and connectivity all around the world.

“WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable.” said Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. “WhatsApp will complement our existing chat and messaging services to provide new tools for our community.” he added.

Statistics report showing around 450 million people accessing the WhatsApp application each month, having 70 percent of the total amount of users active each day. The changes will also bring WhatsApp’s CEO Jan Koum to Facebook’s board of directors. Koum also assured users that the deal will not affect the app’s usability by adding advertising principles, as “there would have been no partnership between our two companies if we had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product”.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information

Other Nokia Asha 502 and 503 Details Leak

Nokia is getting ready to officially announce its new devices within a few hours. At Nokia World this year, the whole world is waiting in anticipation to see Windows Phone powered devices come of age and adopt modern novelties such as 1080p panels and quad-core processors. If you haven’t figured it out, we are talking about the Lumia 1520, but that is a different story.

Now we are talking about Nokia’s entry-level Asha lineup which will get two new additions, both full-touch devices. The Asha 503 will feature the same 3.2-inch QVGA display having a 320 x 240 pixels resolution, but is said to come with a 5-megapixel rear camera accompanied by an LED flash, making it the most advanced camera on any Asha phone yet. Fully capable of expanding its storage with a micro SD card slot and packing a 1200 mAh battery, it is quite a  remarkable addition to the Asha family indeed. While the Asha 503 will support 3G, the Asha 502 will have to do without it. Dimensionally, both phones will fit comfortably in anybody’s palm: 102.55 mm x 60.55 x 11.5 mm with a weight of 112 grams.

The new devices are expected to be announced at Nokia World. Expect them to be priced under a $100 ( £62 ), making them a value proposition, especially when you consider that apps like Whatsapp and games such as Plants vs. Zombies are making their way to the platform.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of NextPowerUp.

WhatsApp Responds To Google Buyout Speculation

Just two days ago we brought you the news that Google was reportedly planning to acquire WhatsApp for a fee upwards of $ 1 billion USD. This rumour isn’t exactly the first to concern WhatsApp and the potential for it to be bought out by a bigger company. In December last year there were rumours that Facebook would be making the acquisition and WhatsApp said that this rumour was also factually inaccurate.

WhatsApp have responded saying the Google takeover rumours are unfounded and that they have not been in talks with Google. Neeraj Arora, WhatsApp’s business development head, denied the rumour fully by stating that there had been no sales talks with Google about an acquisition.

It did almost seem counter-intuitive that Google might be looking to buy WhatsApp even though it was already investing a lot of time and money into its own equivalent yet-to-be-released service called “Babel”. Even though WhatsApp is clearly capable of growing while remaining independent there are still a lot of companies out there that could benefit from acquiring it.

Some have cited that Yahoo might be well placed to acquire WhatsApp as Yahoo certainly needs to bolster up on the mobile front if it wants to remain competitive in today’s marketplace.

WhatsApp is one of the most popular mobile applications in the world for cross-platform messaging. The app allows photo, video, text, audio and location sharing between all mobile operating systems it supports. The app costs $0.99 on iOS and in some countries $0.99 per year on the Android OS.

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Google May Be Looking To Buy WhatsApp

According to rumours technology giant Google is looking to acquire the software company that have developed and created WhatsApp. The move by Google is similar in style to that performed by Facebook when they acquired the social photography website Instagram for $1 billion USD.

So far in the mobile space Google have mainly relied upon their own products such as the Android OS and Apps like Google Maps. The move to buy WhatsApp suggests Google wants to make much more rapid progress in the mobile market.

Digital trends has stated that the deal between Google and WhatsApp could be worth well over $1 billion USD, which is what Facebook paid for Instagram. Interestingly, Facebook were also interested in WhatsApp at one stage so it is still possible WhatsApp could be negotiating with many companies at the same time.

The acquisition is by no means guaranteed as Google is currently developing its own social messaging service called “Babble” or “Babel” which is likely to want to invest most of its time and money into. However, given the limited success of Google + it seems likely Google may purchase WhatsApp as a back up plan, should its own messaging service not end up as successful as Google wants it to be.

What do you think of Google trying to buy WhatsApp? Is it a good business move from Google? Are any of you that use WhatsApp worried by the prospect of Google buying it?

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