What’s up with WhatsApp?


whatsappRecently my son and his family moved to an area where their mobile phone provider’s signal was not available. However once they went to the top of their drive, lo and behold, the signal returned. This may seem OK but, with them not having a land-line, it meant being unable to contact the family by mobile phone. Very frustrating.

If I can’t call people, I will usually text but for my family I knew any text sent wouldn’t be received until after they left home.

What to do?
Recently, I was introduced to an application which solved my communication problem in one swipe. It’s called ‘WhatsApp”. I was so impressed I installed it immediately on my smartphone.

WhatsappHere is what I now get when using WhatsApp:
• Free* messages to family and friends. These can be typed or I can use my phones voice recognition capability [more on that shortly so watch this space!] • I can set up a group made up of friends or family and in one message communicate with every one simultaneously.
• Talk to anyone in New Zealand OR overseas for free*. My mobile phone voice minutes aren’t affected.
• I can record a sound byte [a file with my voice recorded] and send that off too. A great idea if while you’re on the run, you want to send yourself a ‘voice note’ reminder.
• If talking or texting isn’t enough I can make a video call and see who I am talking to. Great for really keeping in touch.
• I can take pictures or videos and seamlessly share them with people I am in contact with.
• I can run the application also on my computer at home via a browser and effortlessly sync all chats and messages with my smart phone.
• While travelling overseas WhatsApp works just fine. Just be mindful though that as it uses the internet you will be billed for using cellular data unless you have a plan in the Country you are in. The alternative is to turn off data roaming and just rely on local free Wi-Fi.
• WhatsApp comes with ‘end to end encryption’. What this means is that no-one else can read, see or listen to messages other than you, the sender, or your recipient(s).
*[This assumes you are connected through your data connection via Wi-Fi]

Unlike text’s WhatsApp uses an internet connection to transmit messages [written and spoken], photos, video’s and emoji’s. This meant that I will now be able to communicate with my son and the rest of his family, irrespective of whether their mobile signal is working or not. What’s more, it hasn’t incurred any fees as it uses an internet connection. An enormous plus is I don’t need to wait to receive a reply confirming my message has been received and read. 2 blue ticks at the bottom of the message confirm they have read it.

So many features come with this application. The great news is that there is a version available for any smartphone – Apple, Windows or Android.

Yet again technology is taking us all to a much better place where we can communicate with loved ones, friends and acquaintances here and around the world sharing memories and experiences.

by Alex Sharp, Age Hacker