The Rise of Messaging Apps
The internet has made communication much easier. From message boards to email, to video and audio conferencing – people from all over the globe can contact each other without paying anything on top of their internet bill.
Today, one of the most popular ways to communicate over the internet is with Messaging Apps for mobile devices. These can be traced back to the instant messaging computer programs that were popular in the 90s and into the 2000s. Some of them being ICQ, AIM and MSN Messenger.
Today a hell lot of people are using mobile apps. In fact, according to the new ‘5 biggest mobile apps’ info graphic from Skilled.co, by 2018 a whopping 80% of smartphone users will be active on messaging apps, which is roughly 2 billion people – a huge rise from the 1.4 billion app users at the start of 2016.
But with such a meteoric rise, where did the concept come from? It turns out instant messaging was a thing before the World Wide Web was even created.
The boffins at the computer division of MIT invented something called the Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS) in 1961. It allowed up to 30 users to login to one operating system and send text based messages to one another. That’s the origin of Texting!
Then in the 80s MIT used the UNIX operating system and brought together several different programs under a platform called Zephyr, which allowed users with a unique IP to chat in chat rooms not too different than we’d see in the 90s.
A Great Revolution in Communication after 80s:
Another popular platform of the time was Internet Relay Chat. IRC is a protocol that could be used by several different clients to connect to different chat servers over the internet or a local network. It is still quite popular today.
But later in 1996, Israeli company Mirabilis developed ICQ (or I Seek You). This familiarized the average personal computer user with instant messaging. Then in 1997, AOL (America Online) took things to another level with their own instant messaging program. And then followed the likes of MSN Messenger inspired the next generation into the 2000s.
Top Messaging Apps:
The rise of mobile devices has forced developers to leave these platforms behind and focus on apps that do much the same thing but with even more cool features. The Skilled.co infographic reveals that the 5 most popular apps are WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Viber, and Line – none of which existed before 2011.
They’ve introduced such advancements as in-app payments, transport booking, and immersive gaming and photo editing. China’s WeChat even lets you manage and pay household bills like electricity and the internet!
So what’s next? According to Facebook we may soon be messaging our friends in virtual reality. Thanks to the rise of headsets like Oculus and related technology. Earlier examples were just cartoon avatars. But eventually we might not even be able to tell the difference between ourselves in the real world and the virtual world.
Check out the full info graphic from Skilled.co to learn more about the current messaging app landscape.