A global wave of smartphone messaging applications has succeeded in wooing young people by combining text and social media features that have enabled users to circumvent cellphone plans as well as find an alternative to Facebook. These new apps -- which include Kik, Whatsapp, KakaoTalk and WeChat, among others -- are not considered a threat to Facebook but might make inroads into its use. "More people text and make phone calls than get on to social networks. If one company dominates the replacement of that traffic, then by definition that's very big," says Rich Miner, a partner at Google Ventures who is backing MessageMe.
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