Saturday, February 22, 2014

With WhatsApp, Facebook enters your address book...

The address book is making a billion-dollar comeback.

Weary of noisy social networks filled with mundane updates from the most remote acquaintances, millions of people have turned to their smartphone address books - and the diverse array of messaging services that rely on them, like Snapchat, Secret, Kik and WhatsApp - for more intimate social connections. Now the stampede toward those messaging services has Silicon Valley's giants scrambling to catch up.

Being able to tap into this address book messaging is a major reason why Facebook decided that WhatsApp, the most popular of these services, was worth as much as $19 billion. In announcing this week it would buy WhatsApp, Facebook is betting that the future of social networking will centre on not just broadcasting to the masses but also the ability to quickly and efficiently communicate with your family and closest confidants - those people you care enough about to have their numbers saved on your smartphone.

Facebook has long defined the digital social network, and the average adult Facebook user has more than 300 friends. The company's strategy has mostly been about making that circle of friends even bigger, cajoling users into combining their friends, former friends, co-workers, second cousins and everyone they've ever met into a single, ballooning social network.

But the average adult has far fewer friends - perhaps just a couple in many cases, researchers say - to whom they talk regularly in their real-world social network. Full story...

Related posts:
  1. Facebook pays $19bn for WhatsApp. Why?
  2. Few takers for Google Plus, but Google not worried...
  3. Facebook = Spybook?
  4. Facebook faces lawsuit for allegedly scanning private messages...

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