WhatsApp is known for the pace of its updates — users recently got emoji reactions to play around with, for example — and it looks like another significant change is on the horizon.
As spotted by the nice folks at WABetaInfo (opens in new tab)the latest beta version of the WhatsApp app for Android, includes code that suggests that you’ll soon be able to post voice messages as your status for your contacts to listen to.
The feature hasn’t gone live yet, not even for beta testers – but a screenshot shared by WABetaInfo shows a microphone button next to the text, photo and video options currently in place for setting your status.
At the moment you can send a voice memo or an audio file within a conversation in WhatsApp, but you can’t bulk share it with your contacts. That would change once the new feature rolls out.
WhatsApp’s status feature has now evolved in a similar way to Snapchat and Instagram’s Stories feature: 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 want, you can only show your status to a select number of your contacts.
These time limits and privacy settings would presumably apply to language status updates as well, although exactly how they’ll appear in the app remains to be seen. Check out this space for an official announcement about the feature.
Analysis: Always everything
Even for the casual observer, WhatsApp is more diligent than most apps when it comes to stacking the new features on top of each other – whether it’s broader controls for group chat admins or tweaked settings for your last seen status.
It has evolved from a simple messaging app into a standalone social media platform, and the ability to set your status is a big part of that. It’s not quite the Facebook feed, but it gets closer.
WhatsApp has been able to capitalize on the shift from public to private sharing: many of us are now more likely to share photos with a limited number of people within a WhatsApp group than through an app like Instagram.
And that’s all fine with Meta (formerly Facebook), of course: it’s keen to get its hands on as much of your data and app time as possible, and WhatsApp’s ever-growing list of features is likely to attract even more users put on.