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WhatsApp reaches 20 billion messages a day, CEO calls it “Bigger than Twitter”

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WhatsApp, the cross-platform messaging service that saves you from carrier SMS text messaging charges for a dollar a year, has announced that it’s now “Bigger than Twitter,” with more than 200 million active users.

CEO Jan Koum, speaking yesterday at the Dive into Mobile conference, also mentioned yesterday that they’re currently processing 20 billion messages every day – 12 billion outbound, 8 million inbound.

One of Koum’s less pleasant duties at the conference involved debunking a rumor that Google was looking to buy WhatsApp for a billion dollars (we reported said rumor). He said that he and his co-founder haven’t ever spoken of selling the company, and expressed his wish for bloggers to take more responsibility in maintaining control of the rumor mill. He made it very clear how disruptive the acquisition press can be to his team.

If you’re late to the party on WhatsApp, it provides inter-platform messaging between Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, Nokia, and Blackberry. It runs on your standard Internet data plan, and supports video, audio, and unlimited pics. The company’s site is tailored to actual people, too, with a candid, conversational blog and an ad-condemning Fight Club quote on their front page. And oh yeah, they don’t sell ad space. 

You probably know someone (very possibly yourself) who’s gotten gypped on messaging at some point, but pretty much everyone reading this should have unlimited texting by now, so what’s WhatsApp’s big draw?

Well, first off, you can make group chats and save them, which is good for anyone who actually uses texts for information gathering, and doesn’t want to worry about older messages getting deleted. The app has also got its own notification and privacy settings, so at the end of the day, it could be seen as just another way to section off your contacts. But with 20 billion messages going through the service every day, we wonder if WhatsApp will be seen down the road as the app that killed the SMS.