WhatsApp is known for the pace of its updates – for example, users recently got emoji responses to play with – and it looks like another major change is on the way.
As noted by the fine folks at WABetaInfo (opens in new tab)The latest beta version of the WhatsApp app for Android includes a code that suggests you’ll soon be able to post voice messages as your status so that your contacts can listen.
The feature hasn’t gone live yet, even to beta testers – but a screenshot shared by WABetaInfo shows a microphone button next to the text, photo, and video options that currently exist to set your status.
Right now, you can send a voice note or an audio file in a conversation in WhatsApp, but you can’t massively share them with your contacts. That would change once the new feature rolls out.
The WhatsApp status feature has now evolved to become similar to the stories feature on Snapchat and Instagram: you post a line of text, an image, or a short video and it’s visible to the people you’re connected to for 24 hours. If you wish, you can only show your status to a select number of your contacts.
Those time limits and privacy settings would presumably also apply to voice status updates, but it remains to be seen exactly how they’ll appear in the app. Watch this space for an official announcement about the feature.
Analysis: always everything
Even for the casual observer, WhatsApp is busier than most apps when it comes to stacking up the new features — whether it’s more extensive controls for group chat managers or custom settings for your last seen status.
It’s grown from a simple messaging app to be more akin to a social media platform in its own right, and being able to set your status is a big part of that. It’s not quite the Facebook feed, but it’s getting closer.
WhatsApp has benefited from the shift from public to private sharing: many of us are now more likely to share photos with a limited number of people in a WhatsApp group than stick them all over an app like Instagram.
And that’s all fine with Meta (formerly Facebook), of course: it likes to get its hands on as much of your data and your app time as possible, and WhatsApp’s ever-growing list of capabilities is likely to draw even more users to it.