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Line (usually stylized in all-caps as LINE) is a proprietary instant messaging application for smartphones and PCs. In addition to basic messaging, Line users can send each other images, video, audio media messages and make free VoIP calls.
Initially a mobile application for Android and iOS phones, it has since expanded to Windows Phone as well as desktop computers. A BlackBerry version was released in October 2012 and a Nokia Asha version in Asia and Oceania at the end of March 2013.
As of November, 2012, Line had more than 74 million users worldwide and was used in over 230 countries.As of January 18, 2013, Line had reached 100 million users worldwide and reportedly was gaining about 400,000 users daily.
Line was launched on June 23, 2011 by NHN Japan after the Tōhoku earthquake. NHN Japan realized how inconvenient the damaged communication system was and discovered that a data service would work and be more efficient. They decided to design an app accessible on smartphones, tablets, and desktops that would work on the data network and provide a continuous and free instant messaging and calling service. The name Line was originated from the fact that after the incident people had to line up outside of public phones, because in Japan the public phones "are programmed to take priority over networks during and after an earthquake".
In late October 2011, Line experienced an unexpected overload on the server due to the extreme growth of users around the world, causing outages and delays in message delivery. After concluding that the scalability process had to be improved, NHN Japan chose to adopt HBase as the primary storage for user profiles, contacts, and groups.
On July 3, 2012, NHN Japan announced the new features "Home" and "Timeline" for Line. The features allow users to share recent developments in life to friends in real-time, similar to social networking services.
On December 16, 2012 the Line application was shown in rap artist Big Sean's music video for his song 'Guap'