WhatsApp is one of the largest messaging platforms with over a billion users globally. The service is used by close to 250 million people in India on a daily basis. Given a large number of users on its platform, the Facebook-owned company actively adds features to make the service more useful and fun. Several features that WhatsApp tests reach beta testers even before they are rolled out for the public.
Off late, WhatsApp’s focus has been on curbing the spread of fake news on its platform and it has rolled out features like ‘Forwarded’ label to tackle the issue. Features like ‘Suspicious Link Detection’ are being beta tested to warn users of misinformation. In addition, Stickers will reportedly make its way to stable WhatsApp version soon and users could see two new shortcuts – Mute and Mark as Read – in the notifications panel.
Let us take a look in detail top six new features that are currently either being tested or has been made available on WhatsApp:
WhatsApp Forwarded label
WhatsApp ‘Forwarded’ label can be accessed by Android and iOS users. The label is supposed to reduce the spread of messages by letting people know whether a message is forwarded or has not been composed by the sender. The feature marks all forwarded messages, photos and videos as ‘Forwarded’. The tag does not appear when one copies and paste text or attach media directly from the device’s gallery.
WhatsApp adds Mute, Mark as Read options in notification panel
WhatsApp is reportedly gearing up to add two new shortcuts in the notification centre, which will allow users to mute chat or mark message as read without needing to open the app. The ‘Mute’ feature is reportedly now live for WhatsApp Android beta version 2.18.216, while ‘Mark as Read’ option for Android beta version 2.18.214 is currently disabled and under development.
Using WhatsApp’s Mute feature, people can mute notifications for a chat directly from the notifications centre. However, the option is enabled only when users get more than 50 messages from a contact. The ‘Mark as Read’ option will allow users to mark messages as read directly from the notifications panel. Currently, WhatsApp only offers ‘Reply’ shortcut in notification centre.
WhatsApp might get its own set of stickers soon and its preview is available for WhatsApp Android beta version 2.18.218, according to a WABetaInfo report. Stickers for WhatsApp is a long-awaited and the feature was announced at Facebook’s F8 conference earlier this year. The messaging app might sticker packs similar to Facebook Messenger, which users will need to download for the first time. Post downloading a pack, people will reportedly be able to use stickers from it even when offline.
WhatsApp ‘Suspicious Links Detection’
WhatsApp’s ‘Suspicious Link Detection’ is another feature aimed at curbing the spread of misinformation by warning users of spam by putting a red label on such messages. A part of beta version 2.18.204 for Android, WhatsApp is currently testing the feature, as per a WABetaInfo report. It adds that the service will automatically detect whether the link that a user receives is redirecting to a fake or alternative website. In case users go ahead with opening the link despite the red label, WhatsApp will push a notification confirming if they want to proceed.
WhatsApp ‘Send Message’ for Group admins
WhatsApp’s ‘Send Message’ gives more power to group admins on the platform. The option is available for Android and iOS users in the Group Settings menu. Group admins can choose whether all participants or only admins can send messages on a group. It is useful for large groups, which are in place mainly for broadcasting information. The feature gives the right to send messages to a handful of people, thus reducing chances of circulation of fake news.
WhatsApp Media visibility
WhatsApp Media visibility feature has been rolled out for beta Android version 2.18.194 of the app. It gives a user the option to hide or show media received in the gallery. The option can be accessed within Contact Info and Group Info. The Media Visibility gives users three options – ‘Default,’ ‘Yes’ and ‘No.’ The third option lets people hide media content from a contact in phone’s gallery, though the media will still be visible on WhatsApp. All media from a contact will be visible in a user’s phone’s gallery if option ‘Yes’ is chosen.