Missed WhatsApp While Counting The Number Of Apps On Your Phone? You’re not alone!

A little less than a decade back, our phones were predominantly consumed to send and receive text messages, make voice calls, and we had just about started to configure our official and personal emails on our devices. It was a prodigious feeling to be able to check emails in an instant, and not wait till we landed our hands on a desktop or laptop. So much so that we hankered to receive even more emails, and frequently refreshed our inboxes in anticipation. The adverse effect, of course we all face now, is that we’re governed by the unsaid rule of “responding to emails immediately”. Otherwise short discussions that would transpire via a phone conversation or a quick text message, began turning into one line emails with plenty of other (mostly irrelevant) people marked on CC. There was a sense of accomplishment that we could march into office every morning with no emails pending to be read and most of the responses done with. We even started to have our phones placed next to our plates on the lunch table. A morsel here and a tab there.

Enter WhatsApp!

Just about then (around 2009-10), a little piece of technology called “WhatsApp” came into our lives. Many of us didn’t even have “smart” phones at the time. We were pretty much wedded to our good old, and if I may add, indispensable Nokia phones, or the ever so proficient business class BlackBerry. Some of us had moved to the likes of a Samsung or an HTC, and we had even fewer proprietors of the plush iPhone.

A Simple Name, And Even Simpler Utility!

The name “WhatsApp” was clearly derived from the overused (and apparently uber cool) parlance “Wassup” fused with the word “App” which we have in abundance on our phones today. Keeping true to its name, WhatsApp was essentially an instant messaging app with other media sharing options like image, audio files etc. It worked on one’s device, using a mobile number for one-time registration. It was as simple as that! Only, it needed one to have an internet plan on the device or be connected to a WiFi network.

Rapid Adoption

While WhatsApp started to gain ground, many telecom operators felt the heat and offered various SMS/Text messaging packs like unlimited free texts, 1000 texts for just Rs. XX per month and so on. I’m sure many of them did well too, as texts worked on regular mobile connection, unlike WhatsApp that needed to be connected to the internet. Another contention to reckon with was the default instant messaging app that every BlackBerry device came pre-installed with – BBM, an abbreviation for BlackBerry Messenger. It was as good as WhatsApp and pretty well established too; however, it was limited to single platform BlackBerry devices, unlike WhatsApp which connected cross-platform devices. Also, BBM required one to add contacts using the unique BB pin that every BlackBerry device had. Whereas WhatsApp simply picked up everyone in the phone’s contact list that also had the app installed on the device.

Moving To Internet-Packs Or We’d Rather Say “WhatsApp Packs”!

Gradually there was a realisation that recharging for data packs and using it for WhatsApp made more sense than spending on SMS packs. Most of the just-about-to-become-smart phones barely had anything else on the phone that would consume the internet, so there wasn’t much of a worry exhausting the internet quota for the day/week/month. And for some who had the privilege of their company chipping in for phone bills, didn’t bat an eyelid before adding on a data pack to their postpaid plans. It made sense for organisations too as it did save cost. Text messages however still remained quite prevalent; unless you knew someone fairly well, it wasn’t polite to start a conversation on WhatsApp just yet. It would much rather be on text message to start with.

An App Or A Phone Feature?

Soon with the help of internet penetration in India, WhatsApp started getting installed in almost every phone that was purchased; and most often it was the first App to get installed. In many cases, it also remained the only App that ever got installed on the device. In fact, Nokia and WhatsApp engaged in a pact where Nokia pre-loaded the WhatsApp application on some of its handset models. Back in the day, it was a cracker of a deal. WhatsApp for many, became the primary reason for purchase of a phone, making it almost a default feature of the mobile handset rather than an external application that’s an add-on.

Changing Hands

A few years passed, and we saw ownership of WhatsApp Inc. change hands when Facebook took over the company for a mind-boggling price tag. They obviously saw immense value to be unlocked as WhatsApp had matured into a hygiene feature of every phone and the default communication option for nearly everyone who had access to the internet on their handsets.

Challenging Conventional Marketing Norms!

In more ways than one, WhatsApp wrecked centuries-old dogmas around marketing theories and principles. It did not cater to any specific or defined target audience; it was used by almost everyone across the globe – in local trains in Mumbai, to those flying business class across different countries, small villages to big corporate offices, landlords to domestic help, cab and auto drivers, rural and urban towns alike. All of them were making most of this piece of technology; for the basic need that it fulfilled – (notionally) free instant messaging. Nothing fancy, nothing cool, not the best-looking app, no out-of-this-world features. Plain and simple, instant messaging. It cut across age groups, geography, gender, class, mobile handset categories, and whatever other sophisticated market segmentation one could fathom. Except maybe a few celebrities (and wannabe celebrities), who did not want to show up on the WhatsApp list of anyone unknown or unwanted; that’s where BBM scored over WhatsApp with its unique BBM pin feature.

No Longer An App!

WhatsApp is no longer treated as “an App”! It has become an intrinsic feature of every mobile device. Pronounced in different accents, by different age groups in their own unique way. The “group chat” feature on WhatsApp has, to quite an extent curtailed the use of official email too, with plenty of discussions and decisions being made over informal group chats. CXOs of large organisations have gone on to say that they have tonnes unread emails, as a bulk of their work gets taken care of on WhatsApp groups. Not to mention the use of WhatsApp Web, which is slowly becoming a default window we all have open on our computers while at work. Most of us assume that every person we meet has WhatsApp on their mobile phone and would be okay conversing on it. “Are you on WhatsApp?” has become a rhetoric question of sorts.

Such has become the inherent consumption of this piece of technology, that if we’re asked to count the number of apps we have on our phones, at first go we’d probably miss WhatsApp in the tally.


#WhatsApp #App #iOS #Android #AreYouOnWhatsApp #InstantMessaging #BBM #TheInsidePages #Technology #WhatsAppGroup


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Discover the humbling effect of the unpretentious Pondicherry!

Discover the humbling effect of the unpretentious Pondicherry!

Fresh coconut water to artistic masterpieces. Pleasant walks along the unscathed French colonies to a quiet evening on the promenade of the famous Rocky beach. An authentic local feel to a strong spiritual side. One of the best weekend getaways in the southern part of India, the simple and benevolent Pondicherry will leave you with a lot to brood over.

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#Puducherry #Pondicherry #FrenchColony #Ashram #WeekendGetaway #SriAurobindo #CycleRickshaw #TamilNaduEastCoast #TheInsidePages #TraveliciousWorld #Pondy #RockyBeach #Travel #ShortTrip #TravelBog

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India’s Best Test Match Loss In Years

The inevitable has happened in Indian cricket and the media fraternity, with comparisons between two sportspersons from different eras and two great cricketers in their own right. I am nowhere close to being a huge fan of Sachin Tendulkar, but I will still abstain from getting into judgements as to who between him and Virat Kohli, will end up being leaving the game of cricket richer.

To illustrate the way the game has changed over the years and why such comparisons are not warranted, I would like to bring back memories from the first Test match of India’s Tour of Australia in 2014, which I fondly recall as “India’s best Test match loss in years”.

A Crucial Fourth Innings Hundred!

An overnight declaration by the Australians left India with a target of over 350 runs on Day 5 of the first test at the Adelaide Oval. At a venue which is said to be most suited to the Indians of all Australian wickets, it was still a formidable ask. It wasn’t too long before the then 26-year old stand-in captain Virat Kohli, walked out to the middle after the dubious dismissal of opener, Ajinkya Rahane. Apart from being the best young batsman in the side and captain for the Test, Kohli also faced the added pressure of taking over the mantle of the crucial number 4 slot from retired great, Sachin Tendulkar. Kohli’s hundred was his second in the match after a knock of 115 in the first innings. His second innings score of 141 now ranks amongst the best fourth innings performance by an Indian overseas.

Play It Like The Aussies!

The century which came at a strike rate of over 80 was part of a fabulous partnership with opener Murali Vijay. Known for his aggressive game, Kohli seemed to have forgotten that there is a third possible result in the longest format of the game which is a ‘Draw’. “Play it like the Aussies” was the mantra he went by, and rightly so. His approach on the last day of the Test match can be debatable, and many believe he could have pushed for a draw. But few would appreciate that if it hadn’t been for the way Kohli played, India wouldn’t have come so close to winning the game in the first place; which Australia won by just 48 runs in the end. A pretty close margin in the context of the game. More so, the team could have been bundled out cheaply had it not been for the pressure that Kohli’s aggressive batting put the Australian bowlers under. India may have lost the match eventually, but it was the best Test match loss they’ve had in years. It was the finest way to lose a Test match by going down fighting into the last day and the last session.

The Game Has Changed, Big Time!

Just roll back a decade, a few years into the new millennium, and not a single individual in the country would have imagined even Sachin Tendulkar taking India close to a fourth innings target of over 350 on the last day of a Test match. It isn’t about doubting Sachin’s ability, but it wasn’t the norm back then and wasn’t the right thing to do. You’d much rather be fending off deliveries and grinding it out there in the middle to draw a Test match. But the rules of the game have changed, and no target in any format of the game is unachievable. Such has been the transition, which renders any comparisons baseless. Not withholding many other changes over the years, like the pitch and weather conditions, rules of the game, opposition teams, and so on.

No matter what records Kohli ends up with, there is little to draw a parallel between two players from two different eras.


#TestCricket #Cricket #IndVSAus #Kohli #Sachin #Tendulkar #KolhiVSSachin #Adelaide #ForthInnings #TheInsidePages #Virat #IndiasBestTestMatchLoss #PlayItLikeTheAussies #CricketAustralia #TeamIndia



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