In a statement to TechCrunch, WhatsApp said: “We heard from our users that people missed the ability to set a persistent text-only update in their profile, so we’ve integrated this feature into the ‘About’ section in profile settings. Now, the update will appear next to profile names anytime you view contacts, such as when creating a new chat or looking at Group info.”
WhatsApp won’t remove the recent image-based status component, however, users will simply have both options available. You can look forward to the return of the original status feature in the coming weeks and WhatsApp said it will be “continuing to build on” the Snapchat-style status option in the future.
Since we published the original post, Snapchat also went public through a successful IPO.
In its bid to further compete with Snapchat, Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp has announced a new feature called Status. It’s basically a version of Snapchat Stories, with the addition of full encryption.
In fact, WhatsApp has had a “status” tab in the app when it first launched in February 2009. However, it was just a text-based feature designed to show a user’s current availability. Today, the update that’s rolling out for Android, iOS and Windows Phone add much more functionality. Like Snapchat Stories, the revamped Status feature in WhatsApp lets users share photos and videos with friends, and those images will disappear after a short period of time. Unlike Snapchat Stories, though, the team at WhatsApp claims any shared content in the Status tab is “end-to-end encrypted”, which may attract more users who are concerned about security.
This is, of course, not the first such “clone” of Snapchat Stories. Another Facebook-owned app, Instagram, launched Instagram Stories in 2016. That launch has reportedly affected usage for Snapchat as a whole. In its recent IPO filing, the company showed that its growth rate went from 17.2 percent in the second quarter of 2016 down to a growth rate of just 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter of the year, after Instagram Stories launched.
This new feature for WhatsApp could also affect growth for Snapchat as well down the road. That could potentially be bad news as the company prepares to go public. It hopes to start trading its shares sometime in early March.
By the way, TechCrunch reports that WhatsApp currently has 1.2 billion monthly users worldwide, and they are sending 60 billion messages a day. That includes 3.3 billion photos, 760 million videos and 80 million GIFs. Are you a WhatsApp user? Do you think this revamp of its Status feature may keep you from using Snapchat in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!