WhatsApp Hits New Milestone: Over 500 Million Active Users [u]

WhatsApp today has announced the cross-platform messaging app has reached half a billion active users, with CEO Jan Koum detailing the milestone on the company’s blog:

Thanks to all of you, half a billion people around the world are now regular, active WhatsApp users. In the last few months, we’ve grown fastest in countries like Brazil, India, Mexico, and Russia, and our users are also sharing more than 700 million photos and 100 million videos every single day. We could go on, but for now, it’s more important that we get back to work – because here at WhatsApp, we’re just getting started.

Koum notes over 700 million photos and 100 million videos are shared daily, which is pretty impressive. Earlier this month, WhatsApp revealed it had handled a record 64 billion messages in 24 hours.

WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook back in February in a $16 billion deal, a monster acquisition by the social network, for a chat app that only makes money through $1/year subscriptions.

Last month, Koum reiterated to users its privacy policy after some users worried Facebook would take over their WhatsApp data.

Coming soon for WhatsApp is a voice calling feature, which was leaked earlier in screenshots.

Update: Koum tells Re/code this feature is coming “in the next few months.”

As for the four biggest WhatsApp countries? They are: Mexico, Brazil, India and Russia. There are 48 million users alone in India, which is half the number of Facebook’s active users there. Meanwhile, Brazil has 45 million active users with a growth rate “…not like a hockey stick, it’s like a vertical line,” says Koum.

To target countries where not everyone has a data plan, WhatsApp has made deals with carriers to offer unlimited usage for 30 cents per month.