Not too big, but not small either.
Here’s a shocker – Facebook Messenger has been updated 19 times on Android in 2016. WhatsApp has had 25 releases in the same time span. And we’re not even in the middle of February.
We are talking about the two messaging applications with the largest number of monthly active users, with WhatsApp surpassing the one billion milestone. gulp.
To deliver an app that weighs 26 MB to a billion people (I am thinking WhatsApp here), you end up sending over 23 petabytes of data (translation: a shitload of bits). Doing that 25 times since January 1st…
I took a stab at looking into the consumer messaging apps (some of the enterprise ones are larger, though less frequently updated). Here’s what I found:
#1 – They are all fattening up
The scatter graph above is a bit scattered, but it is easy to see that most apps are increasing in size over time. Since September 2014 until January 2016. They all migrated from the 10-20 MB sizes into the 20-40 MB sizes. That’s a doubling in their weight in less than two years.
We don’t think about it much, but we’re in a serious need of a diet here:
- This loads our networks. Not as much as video traffic, but still significant
- Most users have more than one such app on their phone
- These apps update frequently
- It adds up
- With WhatsApp reaching the one billion mark, where will it be headed next?
- To maintain its growth it needs to search for additional users
- These need to come from developing countries
- And there, bandwidth and data is scarce
- The smaller the app, the easier it is on users to handle
- Most of the messaging apps don’t seem to care about how fat they are
#2 – Size doesn’t equate feature richness
The bar chart above shows how big the latest version of each of these messaging apps is.
Te results are rater surprising:
- Skype is the bloated of them all at this point in time, but I don’t remember anything new or interesting that Skype on Mobile introduced in the last two years. And yet – it managed to double its size
- Those in the vicinity of one billion users/downloads are trying to stay on the skinny size – Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Hangouts are all rather small compared to the rest of the pack – and somehow, Facebook Messenger is even smaller than WhatsApp (I’d expect it to be the opposite)
- WeChat and LINE, which can be seen as e-commerce platforms are larger than most, but somehow Skype and Viber manged to be even bigger
I wonder when a diet will be called for. And maybe it already is.