Mobile phone messaging service WhatsApp has announced that a record number of 18 billion messages were processed on New Year's Eve, registering 7 billion inbound and 11 billion outbound messages.
The discrepancy in incoming/outgoing messages, say WhatsApp, is due to group chat messages, where one inbound message becomes multiple outbound messages to all the members within the group.
In comparison, recent numbers from Apple suggest they process less than one billion iMessages every day, showing how wide spread the use of the WhatsApp messaging service is.
WhatsApp has become increasingly popular with users, as it allows them to send messages to other WhatsApp users without impacting on their text allowance. The service can deliver images, video and audio as well as text, and is especially useful for keeping in touch by text with friends and family who are abroad.
The growth of the service has lead to rumoured interest in the service from Facebook, although sources from WhatsApp say that they have had no contact from anyone at Facebook regarding a buyout.