18 billion Whatsapp messages processed on New Year's Eve

Mobile messaging application WhatsApp ended 2012 on a high note. The service processed a record-breaking total 18 billion messages on 31 December alone.

WhatsApp tweeted the news earlier this week, announcing seven billion inbound messages, and another 11 billion outbound, equalling a one-day total that beat its previous record of 10 billion messages, set on 10 August.

"Just how much is 1 billion messages?" the company wrote in an October blog post. "That is 41,666,667 messages an hour, 694,444 messages a minute, and 11,574 messages a second."

The service racks up more outbound messages than inbound, it said, because of group chats. "Sending one [message] into [a] group chat of 10 people is 1:10 inbound:outbound," another tweet explained.

Comparatively, Apple's iMessage service generates more than one billion messages per day, as of June, and has been credited with a decline in text messaging. While people aren't actually sending fewer messages, they are instead turning to IP-based messaging services, like iMessage and RIM's BlackBerry Messenger.

The 69p WhatsApp service - available on Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Nokia S40, Symbian, and Windows Phone devices - allows users to exchange messages without a paid SMS plan, by using the same data plan on which emails and web browsing run.

Less than a month before shattering its own record, WhatsApp was rumoured to be in acquisition talks with Facebook, which reportedly wanted the app to help further boost its increasing mobile presence and push into more international markets. WhatsApp denied the Facebook report early last month, calling it a rumour and saying it was factually inaccurate.