After being teased for weeks since its beta release, WhatsApp has finally launched its Status feature for everyone. The new feature comes in the form of a tab on the main app, and lets you update your status in the form of images or short videos. With this new feature, WhatsApp adds an element of social media sharing to its app, which has traditionally been viewed as a no-nonsense instant messaging service. Also Read - WhatsApp beta for iOS reveals changes, here's what users might get
The new feature is a lot like Snapchat and Instagram Stories, heavily inspired in design and function by the latter, which like WhatsApp is owned by Facebook. It’s a way to share limited-duration visual updates with everyone on your WhatsApp contact list, and offers a bit more in the form of privacy. Also Read - How to temporarily deactivate/permanently delete WhatsApp account
Seeing your friends’ statuses
If you’re on the latest version of WhatsApp on Android, iOS or Windows Phone, you will be able to see a new tab called ‘Status’ in your WhatsApp, near the top (or at the bottom left corner on iOS). This will bring up a screen which shows your own status near the top, followed by updates from people on your contact list. Tapping on anyone on the list will show you their latest status updates, as a picture or video that shows for a few seconds. Statuses remain for 24 hours and disappear automatically, but you can also delete a status update before that manually. Also Read - WhatsApp COVID-19 relief efforts: How you can get resources during the pandemic
Tapping an update will skip it and move on to the next update by the same individual or on to the next unread update from a contact on your list. You can put up multiple images and videos in a single status update, which each individual image disappearing when its 24-hour time period elapses.
Posting a status
To post your own status which will be shared with all of your contacts, you simply have to tap the add icon in the top right corner. This takes you to the camera to shoot a new update, or select an existing image or video clip from your gallery. The update will be added to your status list, and will show in order until its time elapses.
A big advantage that WhatsApp Status has over its Snapchat and Instagram counterparts is privacy. Your status updates only go out to people on your contact list, and you can customize this to exclude certain contacts from viewing your updates or specify who should see updates. The core privacy of WhatsApp is maintained, ensuring that this form of sharing stories cannot be seen by anyone outside of the limited set of people that you actually know and actively communicate with on WhatsApp.
Yet another way to share pictures
While there is no doubt the advantage of privacy when sharing limited status updates on WhatsApp, the Status feature is nothing new. Indeed, if you’re already using Snapchat and Instagram, you’ll find WhatsApp Status to be just another version of the same thing, and indeed may see no good reason to send pictures to your friends on yet another medium. On the other hand, our widespread usage of WhatsApp and daily dependence on it may prove to be the difference between WhatsApp and the rest, as not everyone can honestly say that they use Instagram and Snapchat every day.