WhatsApp for iOS 7. (Photo courtesy of Mashoid.com)

by Danangelowe Spencer

According to its own website, WhatsApp is a “Simple. Personal. Real Time Messaging” app. This alternative way of sending text messages to family and friends around the world is one of the most rapidly growing texting applications, so rapidly growing that Facebook just purchased the product for $19 billion.

Sending a regular text message is boring, so what makes this app different? This application has an attachment feature that allows you to send photos, videos, audio, contact information, and your location. There is also a voice note feature readily accessible to its users.

WhatsApp also features a search option that allows you to search your contact list or your text message thread. And for those who have that one text buddy who became a stalker, no worries, there is a feature to block that person. Additionally, you can clear a conversation, email a conversation, and our favorite feature, you can add a lock screen shortcut to WhatsApp on devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S3.

For those who like to let their contacts know what they are doing without sending a message, there is a status feature in this app. In terms of updating family members only or your close friends, you can use the group chat feature. This feature allows you to create a group from your contact list so you can all communicate at the same time. All contacts also have the ability to set a profile picture. The app also comes with no lingering ads that will disrupt its users.

To use this app you only need to download it to your mobile device, access your contacts and add everyone that has WhatsApp on their device. WhatsApp allows you to see everyone that has this app on their device so you don’t have to guess or ask who has it. Then, you only need internet access to use this app.

As we all know, nothing is perfect. Occasionally the server may be down, which causes delays in conversation. Furthermore, because WhatsApp does not sell ads as a source of revenue, users eventually have to pay a fee to use WhatsApp. The first year of using this app is free, but for every additional year, users are charged $0.99 to continue using WhatsApp.

This app was rated four out of five by cnet.com. However, I rate WhatsApp with a five out of five. WhatsApp is a great app, so if you are a textaholic or just like to keep in contact with your international friends without paying ridiculous charges, I strongly recommend WhatsApp.