Blink and you might have missed it. But it’s been a big week for Facebook.
The new purchase of messaging app WhatsApp for $19bn (£11.4bn). And a door closed on its email service. And all as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.
Any users – few and far between – with an @facebook.com email address will now be forwarded to other personal emails linked to the site.
We’re not shedding any tears, however. The fact is, no one was using them so it was about to say bye bye. A sensible decision. If it doesn’t work then it doesn’t work. No point dragging the whole thing out or undermining the tools that do work with those that don’t.
When the service launched back in November 2010 Facebook thought it would help communication by providing a single inbox that could receive Facebook messages, SMS texts, and conventional emails. But it just didn’t take off. Enough said.
And in its bid to keep on looking forward the social network has also this week made its biggest acquisition to date. WhatsApp – if you didn’t already know – is huge. Well if you class a following of more than 450 million monthly users substantial.
A valuable new asset we think because it provides a service everyone wants and allows users to send messages over Internet connections, avoiding text-messaging fees. Hooray!
The lure of WhatsApp is in fact helping register one million new users a day making money by charging users a subscription fee of $1 per year, with a free model as well.
With figures like those, the company has suggested that it’s heading to hit the billion-user mark very soon.
Previous acquisitions include Instagram, which it bought for $1bn in 2012. And according to the BBC, Facebook has also reportedly offered $3bn to acquire photo-messaging service Snapchat.
So, while Facebook is of course under fire from experts who believe its time is running out it’s trying.
Whether it will work or not, is another matter. Even though it’s biggest strength has always been adding new features and functionality, figures show that there are a huge number of teenagers leaving the site. Mainly because it’s uncool to be in the same social network as your parents. Which is fair enough. I mean whose kids want to grow up watching themselves in photo albums being pimped around their parent’s friends.
I’ve always thought Facebook won’t be able to maintain its audience and its appeal.
But either way Mark Zuckerberg will keep trying to innovate or we’ll enjoy watching how it continues to play its part in social networking history. WhatsApp could play a part in that.
Do you use WhatsApp? Tell us what you think.