WhatsApp Product Roadmap

Each Product developed in the ecosystem has a vision attached to it when it comes to existence. The Product Managers working on it have a Product roadmap associated to it. This roadmap goes through incremental and exponential changes depending on the change occurring in the ecosystem over the period of time . This article is written to understand what would have been “Whatsapp’s product roadmap” when it was build and how they would have modified it over the period of time

Vision — WhatsApp is built on the foundation to provide a platform to user to interact seamlessly in their network without any advertisements as it destroys the aesthetics of the product and as well as question the intelligence of users. As the founders mentioned during one of the communication to their employees “when advertising is involved the user are the product”.


The Broad Product Roadmap for WhatsApp can be divided into three categories

Short term — Building the app for different platforms and develop an ecosystem around it

Mid-term — Building Value added services (VAS) to enhance user experience and take on competitors in different industry like WhatsApp for smart watch, WhatsApp calling. Basically widen the horizon of product to get more users on board

Long term — To develop an new ecosystem where in users and business interact organically which will eventually help in generating revenue which does not go against the ideology of company’s foundation ( No revenue through advertisements or using user’s personal data)


Timelines (Mentioned on the basis of priority)

The never ending dilemma, what to prioritize

Short term goals (2009–2012)

· Launch the beta version (which will use the push notification capability launched by apple) for IOS and test it out to check the functionality and usability of product. The product will consists of feature to broadcast the change in status of user to everyone in user’s network.

· Launch the product exclusively on app store for the I-phone and later the app should support the capability to send pictures

· Subsequent launch of product on other platforms like Blackberry, Symbian OS and Android OS

Mid-term Goals (2012–2015)

· Since Whatsapp would have a huge target user base ( going by the aggressive targets that the company has set it for itself ) by this time period, hence data breach and security has to be given utmost preference and WhatsApp would need to develop encryption technologies to ensure that the user has a seamless experience

· With technology changing rapidly, WhatsApp would also need to develop its capability to be replicated on devices other than smartphones (like desktop or other devices which user may use to communicate like smart watch)

· WhatsApp would also need to widen their horizon by going beyond text messaging and add features like voice message, voice and video calls, sharing files to increase its user base and compete against companies in these domain

Long term goals (2015–2020)

WhatsApp will have to think of new ways to monetize the product. With the expectation of millions of active users to be onboard, WhatsApp would need to come up with ways to generating more revenue (which should not be through advertisements or using user’s personal data)

WhatsApp would have to change the ecosystem around it by beginning to facilitate business and consumer interactions organically. The interactions between customers and business in messaging apps are bound to provide more revenue generation options

What I would have done differently

  1. GIF and other rich content media could have been added as a feature mush before since the technology was readily available by then
  2. Launch the product with localized content like local language much before to increase traction

Summary

Whatsapp has evolved and revolutionized the way people interact with each other via messaging. The fact that it is being easily used from a 12 year old kid to a 60 year old mother speaks volume of its simplicity and yet it is full of functionalities for varied set of users.

The product has seen incremental and iterative changes over years and with facebook coming in picture it has a renewed vision to reach every corner of this world.

The tons of data that it captures on an every day basis can be used in multiple ways which can transform our future in things we cannot even expect. And it is this particular thought which makes this product exciting as well scary in its own ways.