Answer by Sae Min Ahn(안세민):
(Written 2014 Feb)
As of now, I think Whatsapp has many competitors as the base utility it provides – and executes very well – is so core for contemporary communication. But to me the core utility is also what makes its platform – or lack thereof – vulnerable to not siloed competitors but to ecosystem owners/proprietors.
Referencing the above, Whatsapp's biggest competitor will be Google, especially when users:
1. Change their Phone
2. Upgrade their OS
3. Versions of Google Play Services roll out
Currently, the tech giant is in the midst of laser focused, OS ecosystem-level consolidation of function, UX, and monetization platform.
To this, one of their largely unnoticed but critical modification – on KitKat – was giving users. This "soft opt-in" is branded as an "improvement" but should strike a nervous chord with Whatsapp.
Here’s the full Google Hangouts 2.0 for Android changelog:
- SMS & MMS (Android 4.0+): Send/receive text messages with Hangouts! You can import your existing messages, quickly switch between SMS and Hangouts, and start group MMS conversations.
- Animated GIFs: send animated GIFs, cute kittens and all.
- Location: share a location in your conversations.
- Device, in-call, mood status: share what device you’re on, whether you’re on a call, or your current mood.
The same simplicity that enabled the platform to gain immense traction equally enables player like Google to build parity products which they can push to the entire Android userbase via Google Play Services.
As some indication, we see people talking about ""