WhatsApp is making gradual steps forward in the world of instant messaging even though the app still leads the way when it comes to popularity.
This huge popularity is hinged on the fact that WhatsApp offers the simplest chat experience one can ever imagine. It uses your phone number to identify users, which are in turn used to communicate with other users on the platform. Over time, the app has added features such as voice calling, ability to send messages other than texts, share locations as well as play around with texts to include things like italics, bolding and so on.
To make the app even sweeter, Facebook is adding the ability to send GIFs as well as a feature known as Mentions. As at the time of this writing, iOS users of WhatsApp can access these two features, however, those on Android are only limited to mentions. In fact, the mentions feature is currently still in beta, meaning not every Android user of the chat app can access it. The good thing is that the rollout process is on and it will hit your device in no time.
The Mention feature works more like tagging in other social media platforms. In addition, it only works with group chats where you can mention someone in a message or comment you are posting in a group chat. To do so, you need to enter a comment beginning with the symbol @ and then follow it with the name of the person you want to tag. WhatsApp makes life easier with this feature by allowing you to see suggestions of the persons to tag immediately you start typing their names.
As for the support for GIFs, it is only available on iOS. Furthermore, the stable version is yet to see this feature, meaning those on the beta version only can use it. Another feature that is also in the works is the 2-factor authentication method. This is looking to beef up the safety of your conversations by adding a second layer of security.
In the updated WhatsApp policy, there is some info that could be pointing towards very interesting developments at the company. Apparently, the app will soon be able to let users communicate with third-party players such as businesses in what will be known as Commercial Messaging. This will mean things such as transactions, delivery, shipping and appointment notifications, product updates and marketing details can be communicated via the chat app. Anything sounds familiar? Well, there is a lot of Facebook Messenger in this statement, especially when looking at bots. However, only time will tell.
Still, the company insists that no third-party banner ads will be seen on the chat app, unless otherwise.