Looking for real disruption with WebRTC? Wait for Whatsapp voice calling.
A month ago, Whatsapp announced a new milestone: 500 million users. And for Whatsapp, that’s ACTIVE users – 500,000,000 people using the service at least once in the past month.
It is a huge number.
Right after the acquisition of Whatsapp by Facebook, an announcement was made: Voice calling on Whatsapp will be available in Q2 2014. We’ve got one more month to go.
Just like Comcast, Whatsapp will be opting for WebRTC as its technology.
How do I know that?
An educated guess. Whatsapp is a small outfit. A non-existent business model, so no real revenue being generated (or at least not anything to write home about). They need free codecs for that, preferably with a free media engine. Best one that fits? WebRTC.
It isn’t going to be a pure WebRTC service, so don’t expect to login to Whatsapp on your Chrome browser and connect calls with friends. It would be nice to have that, but Whatsapp is mobile only.
It will enable Whatsapp to offer long distance calling and Whatsapp OUT services if they see fit, and make some money on the arbitrage of long distance calls. With their size, it should work.
It also means that 500 million people around the world will have access to voice calling via WebRTC in their app.
Why is that important?
- WebRTC is production grade and ready to go for those serious enough to take the journey
- This is going to be another proof point for WebRTC’s viability
- It will be the largest messaging OTT player that adopts WebRTC
One month to go, assuming no real roadblocks for their developers. And assuming I am correct with my predictions.