Today WhatsApp, Facebook’s new $19 billion messaging darling, has released an update to the Android version of the app.
Among a few new privacy-related features, the update also brings with it an interesting new feature that lets users pay for their friends’/families’ subscriptions, regardless of the platform.
As it stands now, WhatsApp is free for the first year of use, and then requires a $.99 yearly subscription. By letting users pay for their friends’ subscriptions, Facebook and WhatsApp may be promoting the invitation of new users onto the platform.
In terms of WhatsApp monetization, Zuck has been perfectly clear.
Right now, there is no plan to release ads onto the WhatsApp platform, and to that point, subscriptions aren’t a huge priority either. What’s important right now is growth, and letting users invite and pay for their friends is a good place to start.
In related news, WhatsApp is said to get voice calling in the second quarter of this year.