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5 WhatsApp features introduced in 2017 that make it much more than just a messenger

From Stories to picture-in-picture, which was your favorite new WhatsApp feature this year?

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WhatsApp is now used to deliver 55 billion messages each day, among its one billion users worldwide. However, over these years, and especially in 2017, there have been a bunch of new features that arrived on the platform, that made it so much more than just a messaging app. WhatsApp now lets you doodle, it lets you share your live locations, it lets you edit images, and that’s no way basic! Therefore, along with all the memories that we look back in the final week of 2017, here’s also recalling five new WhatsApp features introduced this year, that give the messaging app a life of its own.

Picture-in-picture

In September this year, WhatsApp rolled out support for picture-in-picture viewing within the app. This means, while video calling, iOS and Android users can minimize the video call window, and move it around to place it anywhere on the screen, while still browsing through other messages in the background. Users can simply tap back on the minimized window to continue the video call.

The picture-in-picture video is supported only Android smartphones running Android 8.0 Oreo, and iOS 10 and above devices.

Stories status

After much hue and cry last year when Instagram “blatantly copied” Snapchat’s stories feature, people eventually settled in, and made peace with it. However, Facebook’s plans of adopting the feature wasn’t limited to Instagram. Earlier this year, Facebook replaced the status update feature on WhatsApp with a stories update. While this one probably one of the most anticipated feature on WhatsApp this year, this also led to a lot of protest from the users, who demanded the classic status update to be brought back as well. WhatsApp heard the demands and brought that back.

The WhatsApp stories feature, just like Snapchat, allows users to post photos, videos and GIFs along with emojis and stickers for a duration of 24 hours, after which it automatically diminished. A new dedicated Status tab was also created for this feature, where your contacts can view it till it lasts. This feature is available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

Worth mentioning in the updates to the status feature of the platform is a new ability added to Status that allows users to post text with colorful backdrops.

Live location

Then, in October, WhatsApp for iOS and Android received an advanced version of location sharing – Live Location. The feature essentially allows users to share their location in real-time with friends and family. WhatsApp allows users to choose the duration of how long they location be tracked. Users also have a choice to stop sharing mid way by tapping on the respective icon. Live Location works on individual and group chats.

Business profile

Another way WhatsApp took the platform beyond text messaging was with its Business Profile support. BookMyShow was one of the firsts to test these profiles with WhatsApp. Basically, with Business accounts users see a green tick next to company’s name, which lets them know they are in touch with a legitimate and verified business. So in case of BookMyShow the integration allows the platform to sending confirmation of booked tickets to its customers directly on WhatsApp.

In-app photo editing, photo albums

For the social media obsessed generation, WhatsApp launched a very pertinent and social media-friendly feature in June this year. First WhatsApp borrowed the Snapchat-like doodle pen for its in-app camera, which allows users to scribble on an image they click. Soon after, WhatsApp began to allow users to choose from a set of five filters for the images clicked within the app. These can be applied on both images clicked on the app, or an image that you pick from your camera roll.

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Also worth mentioning is an update that helps you save your chat from being spammed by a trail of images your friends send. WhatsApp rolled out new Photo Album feature, which basically groups together multiple pictures sent in a series into an album for easy viewing.

via GIPHY

WhatsApp payment

While the above mentioned features conclude the list, WhatsApp payments deserves a mention as well. Although the feature is still under works, and has only been spotted in beta versions, it can really notch up the game for WhatsApp, and its competitors. WhatsApp is believed to soon come out with a separate Payments section. And to use the same, users would have to accept the WhatsApp Payments and Bank Terms and Privacy Policy. WhatsApp has reportedly been talking to the State Bank of India to launch the payments system.

  • Published Date: December 26, 2017 4:50 PM IST