New WhatsApp update could kill Snapchat Down


New feature could turn WhatsApp from a functional messaging tool to a platform for entertainment

WhatsApp now has a new feature called Status, launched on February 20, which will allow users to update their statuses with time-limited photos, videos, scribbles and GIFs. Sounds familiar?

Facebook, which acquired WhatsApp two years ago for a whopping $19 billion, has always been known to share a rivalry with Snapchat, another dynamic messaging platform, regularly ringing in changes in step with its competitor.

Its latest WhatsApp feature update, though, is more upfront than ever.

WhatsApp has made several useful modifications of its own. From introducing ‘Read Receipts’, user tagging, end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp Web, to the retraction of the paltry $1 annual subscription fee, WhatsApp has updated itself with key functionalities in consonance with user behaviour, including customising the previously templatised status messages.

What is Status?

Status allows WhatsApp users to share photos, videos, emojis, sketches and even GIFs as status updates. These updates will disappear after 24 hours. They will also, like all text messages, be encrypted end-to-end. You can schedule multiple updates, which would run like a reel and give your friends a glimpse of your entire day. Its content duration can be up to 45 seconds, and they cannot be saved on your device.

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It will be available to all users, iOS and Android.

Where is it located?

Once the feature becomes available, it will automatically show up on your app. You will see an icon between ‘Calls’ and ‘Chats’ on the navigation bar of your WhatsApp home-screen. The traditional text status update function will remain separate.

How it works

* Once you have captured a photo or video you wish to share, you are taken to an interface that is a virtual photoshop. Here, you can…

– Scribble on the captured file

– Superimpose and position emojis on the file

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– Add a caption below explaining the content

* Once your Status is created, you can control who sees it by specifying so in your Privacy Settings. On iOS, tap the icon ‘Privacy’. On Android, look for ‘Status Privacy’. You can make your Statuses a universal delight, or select individual friends who will get to view your Status updates, or exclude specific contacts. If you want to send the content to a specific friend, you send them a private chat message as usual.

* You can discover which of your contacts has viewed your Status on a ‘View Counter’ at the bottom of the screen.

Statuses, yours and mine

Clicking on the Status tab, you will see a horizontal list of all your contacts with updated Statuses. Swipe left or right to scroll through the list, tap to pause, or press-swipe on a Status to reply to it.

What’s in it for WhatsApp

WhatsApp currently has over 1 billion monthly users, and hosts a daily thoroughfare of about 60 billion messages. This includes 3 billion photos, 750 million videos and 80 million GIFs, according to Bloomberg. Now, by milking its potential for multimedia usage, WhatsApp can augment itself from a functional messaging tool to a platform that users go to for entertainment.

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This can effectively spell real trouble for Snapchat, which has already seen an 82% drop-off in user growth since the 2016 launch of Instagram Stories, another copycat that surpassed the original.

This, therefore, opens up fresh avenues for monetisation, which can help offset the opportunity cost of the scrapping of its earlier $1 nominal fee.

The expanded user base and usage can be used to attract advertisers, who could insert their plugs and product-placements in between Statuses to catch the user’s eye as he scrolls through them. |

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