Google’s email service Gmail and Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp on Monday announced that they have crossed over a billion users.
While Gmail’s announcement was made during Alphabet’s Q4 earnings call, Facebook founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Mark Zuckerburg took to his Facebook page to announce WhatsApp’s milestone.
He wrote, “One billion people now use WhatsApp. Congrats to Jan (Koum), Brian (Acton) and everyone who helped reach this milestone!”
Zuckerberg added, “WhatsApp’s community has more than doubled since joining Facebook. We’ve added the ability for you to call loved ones far away. We’ve dropped the subscription fee and made WhatsApp completely free. Next, we’re going to work to connect more people around the world and make it easier to communicate with businesses.”
“There are only a few services that connect more than a billion people. This milestone is an important step towards connecting the entire world.”
Zuckerberg is right.
Besides Facebook (the stand-alone networking app) and now WhatsApp, the billion-user club is mostly dominated by Google, with seven of their services (now including Gmail) breaching the mark at various stages in the last five years.
Facebook, in fact, was the first non-Google app to record one billion monthly active users (MAU) in October 2012. Three years later, in August 2015, it announced that over a billion Facebook users were actively using the service on a daily basis. In January 2016, Facebook announced that it had over a billion mobile MAUs (1.44 billion to be precise) as of 31 December 2015.
The other likely member of the billion user club, could also belong to Facebook. During its most recent earnings, the company announced that its other messaging service—Messenger—had a MAU base of 800 million.
Similarly, Google’s India-born CEO Sundar Pichai announced Gmail’s 1 billion milestone during an earnings call. The service crossed the 900 million mark sometime before last May, according to The Verge. The six other Google services to breach the billion user mark are Google Search, YouTube, Google Maps, Android, Google Play and Chrome.
Apple too is a member of the billion club. It announced last week that the number of worldwide Apple devices crossed the billion mark.
Here’s a list of the billion user club.
Google’s primary service—Google Search—by most estimates was the first member of the billion user club. The exact year in which the service breached the billion users mark is not known, but as of today, the company dominates the market share, with a whopping 89% of users (as of October 2015) preferring Google to other search engines like Bing, Yahoo and Baidu.
The video-sharing service, also one of Google’s subsidiaries, is one of the most popular websites/apps on the Internet as of today. On 21 March 2013, YouTube announced (rather dramatically) that it had breached the one billion user mark. In a blog post, it said, “If YouTube were a country, we’d be the third largest in the world after China and India.” YouTube was launched in February 2005 by former PayPal employees Steve Chen, Jawed Karim and Chad Hurley, before it was purchased by Google in November 2006 for $1.65 billion.
Another popular service from the Google stable, Maps (or Google Maps) crossed the billion users threshold in June 2012. Brian McClendon, Google’s former head of Maps announced the milestone in an event, saying, “While we’ll never create the perfect map, we’ll get much closer than we are today.” McClendon has since left Google to join taxi-hailing app Uber in June 2015.
In May last year, Google announced that its browser—Chrome—had over a billion active users. The announcement was made by Pichai, then Google’s senior vice-president of product.
Another member of the one billion user list is Google’s operating system (OS) platform, Android. It took Android six years to reach the milestone, since its launch in 2008. The announcement about Android crossing a billion users was made in June 2014.
Google’s digital distribution platform (app store, in popular parlance)—Google Play—crossed a billion users in September last year. Google announced that Google Play had a billion active users in the last 30 days.