Tech companies find it easy to quickly garner a lot of users — it’s possible to build an app sitting in your home, fire it up, and see it being used by millions of people. But there’s a rarefied club of tech companies that have cracked the billion club — seeing their products being used by nearly one-seventh of humanity. There are only 6 products which have reached the milestone. Here’s how long they took to get there:
8 years and 8 months
Facebook owns four of the apps on the list, but itself took the longest to reach the milestone. Facebook was launched in 2004, and hit the billion users landmark 8 years and 8 months later. Even after hitting a billion, Facebook’s growth hasn’t stopped — it’s gone ahead and hit its next billion. As of the last quarter of 2018, Facebook had 2.32 billion monthly active users.
8 years and 6 months
Facebook had acquired WhatsApp in 2014, but hadn’t spent very much on promoting the app. However such was WhatsApp’s usefulness that it’s managed to go past a billion users as well. It reached the milestone in a shade less time than its parent company, getting a billion people on board in 8 years and 6 months.
8 years and 1 month
YouTube is one of the older companies in the list — it was founded a year after Facebook in 2005. However, it reached a billion users 7 months before Facebook, reaching the milestone in 8 years and 1 month.
7 years and 8 months
Instagram, like WhatsApp, was acquired by Facebook, but grew largely on its own. After being founded in 2010, Instagram hit the billion-user landmark 7 years and 8 months later.
7 years and 1 month
WeChat has become a way of life in China — it’s not only a messenger, but also bundles functions like payments, e-commerce, and even doctor’s appointments from the same app. WeChat is available in other countries as well, but hasn’t anywhere seen nearly the kind of ubiquity as it has in China. After being founded in 2011, it reached a billion users in 7 years and 1 month.
6. Facebook Messenger
4 years and 11 months
Facebook Messenger is the fastest app on the lis to reach a billion users, but it had an unfair advantage — Messenger was already a feature on Facebook until it was spun off as a separate app. Regardless, Facebook Messenger is the fastest app to a billion users, having reached the landmark in 4 years and 11 months after being launched in 2011.