Facebook-owned WhatsApp has constantly been adding new features to its messaging platform, and the latest one is a ‘Status’ tab. While the ability of putting a status always existed, the new feature lets you share photos with your contacts for a limited time. The feature is pretty similar to Instagram ‘Stories’ and Snapchat ‘Snaps.’ Instagram, which is also owned by Facebook, added the ‘Stories’ feature in August earlier this year, and it already has over 100 million daily active users, according to Mark Zuckerberg. The addition of ‘Status’ feature looks like an extension of Instagram Stories on WhatsApp platform.
The move seems to be a part of Facebook’s new video-first strategy, which Zuckerberg highlighted during Facebook’s third quarter, 2016 earnings call earlier this week. “So I can talk about shifting to put video first across our whole family. There are two broad sets of improvements that I think we need to make. One are to the capture and sharing tools that we offer. So the example of that is the new camera that we’re working on and all the creative tools around that,” he said.
“You can see that a little bit in the announcement and launch of Instagram Stories and what we’re doing with Messenger and some of the additional tests on Facebook and the camera work that we’re doing in WhatsApp. So this is across the whole family of apps. This is a big part of the product experience that we want to deliver,” he added hinting at new video and visual features coming across Facebook’s apps including WhatsApp. ALSO READ: Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to make Facebook video-first
How to get WhatsApp status feature on your Android smartphone right now
While you can easily get the feature right now, there are a few caveats here. For once, you should have the Public Beta version (2.16.336) running on your smartphone. If you aren’t a part of beta testing, you can register yourself as a tester here. Once this is done; head over to Play Store and download the latest build. To use the status feature, you will need to download this app and enable it. Sadly, it only works on rooted smartphones. So, if your smartphone isn’t rooted, you’ll have to wait until the feature is publicly released. ALSO READ: WhatsApp video calling feature comes to Android beta; here’s how it works
How to use WhatsApp ‘Status’ feature
With the new feature, WhatsApp has made some changes to the interface. Previously, you had the ‘calls’ tab on the left, ‘chats’ in the centre and ‘contacts’ at the right. However, now the first tab is ‘chats’ followed by ‘status’ and ‘calls’ moved to the extreme right. Earlier, to change the status, you were required to tap on the three dots on the top right corner and tap on status. However, now, the ‘Status’ option has been moved under settings. So essentially, you can set a status that everyone can see, and another ‘Status’ option to send photos and videos to your contacts. You can also choose the recipients who can read the content you share. ALSO READ: WhatsApp adds Snapchat-like doodle feature on images
Now, when you open the app, there is a camera tab to quickly let you click photos and videos, and send it to your friends. The best part is, you don’t need to go to individual chat to send these media files. What’s more, you can even doodle over the photos, add stickers and more when you send them to your contacts. Do note, as of now, there is no way to delete the ‘Status’ videos and photos that you share. Also, unlike Snapchat, you do not get an option to set the timing for your photos and videos. But there is nothing to complaint about right now as it is still in beta, and might get those missing features when the feature goes public.