Overnight, the messaging app goliath WhatsApp launched WhatsApp Status, its clone of Snapchat and Instagram’s Stories feature. It will allow WhatsApp users to upload photos, videos and GIFs that last 24hrs, with stickers and text, in a look and feel just like its sister company Instagram. It means that for the first time, WhatsApp with its 1.2bn monthly users is going beyond its direct messaging roots and is effectively a social network.
The new feature is already being rolled out to users. The hope is that those loyal to WhatsApp will be less inclined to go somewhere else to tell the world what they’re up to – places such as Snapchat or Twitter for example. The new WhatsApp Status looks like this:
In a blog post announcing the news, founder of WhatsApp, Jan Koum, said he’s excited:
“Starting today, we are rolling out an update to status, which allows you to share photos and videos with your friends and contacts on WhatsApp in an easy and secure way. Yes, even your status updates are end-to-end encrypted. Just like eight years ago when we first started WhatsApp, this new and improved status feature will let you keep your friends who use WhatsApp easily updated in a fun and simple way. From all of us at WhatsApp, we hope you enjoy it!”
TechCrunch has posted a video intro to how WhatsApp Status works, for those new to it and is well worth a watch.