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Apps

The new WhatsApp features are late, but it doesn’t matter one bit

By Sanuj Bhatia April 15, 2022, 5:00 am
whatsapp for iPhone Source: Pocketnow

WhatsApp is one of the most popular instant messaging apps on this Planet. Billions of people around the world use WhatsApp to connect on a daily basis. Despite a huge number of people using its platform, WhatsApp isn't always the first to bring new features to the platform. The company is again playing the catch-up game as it has announced a number of new features coming to the messaging platform, several of which are already available on its competitor apps.

Communities

WhatsApp Communities official Source: WhatsApp

WhatsApp has announced that it will finally be rolling out the Communities feature soon — something we've been hearing about since the last year. WhatsApp says that the Communities feature will allow users to "bring together separate groups under one umbrella."

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For example, WhatsApp Communities will come in handy in organizations such as schools wherein a school principal can bring all the parents together to share must-read updates and set up groups about specific classes, extracurricular activities, or volunteer needs. There are specific Communities features as well. Communities admins will be able to send announcement messages to all the groups at once. WhatsApp says communities will be rolling out in the coming weeks.

Up to 2GB file sharing, Message Reactions, and more

WhatsApp new features delete 2gb file 32 person call Source: WhatsApp

In addition to the Communities feature, WhatsApp has also announced several other features that will make way to the app over the course of the next few weeks or months. WhatsApp has finally announced that it is working on the Message Reactions feature, which has been under development for well over six months now.

For those unaware, Reactions allow users to "quickly share their opinion without flooding chats with new messages." Currently, WhatsApp users will be able to use six emojis, which include thumbs up (👍), heart (❤️), face with tears of joy (😂), face with open mouth (😮), crying face (😢), and folded hands (🙏), to react to a message. It will expand to include all emojis down the road, says the company.

WhatsApp has also announced that it will soon allow users to send files as large as 2 gigabytes. Moreover, WhatsApp group admins will soon be given a privilege wherein they will be able to delete messages sent by others. Currently, WhatsApp only allows the sender to delete the message, but with the new update, group admins will be able to delete them as well. Lastly, WhatsApp has also announced that it will soon support voice calls for up to 32 people.

Does it really matter that WhatsApp is late to the party?

Many of these features, including message reactions, large size file sharing, voice calls with a large number of people, and others, have been available on Telegram and other instant messaging apps for quite some time now. But does it really matter that WhatsApp is adding them just now? Does adding basic features later than its competitor apps have any real negative effects on how the user perceives or uses WhatsApp?

Pixel 6 in hand Source: Pocketnow video

Yes, to a certain extent, it does. Many users are frustrated that WhatsApp is not a 'power-user' messaging app. Instead, it's a barebone messaging application that gets just the basic stuff done. However, we still believe that people are so accustomed to the Meta-developed platform that adding features late doesn't really have any negative effects.

Let's understand this through the WhatsApp policy change scandal from the last year. Many users opposed the WhatsApp privacy policy change to the point that many dumped this instant messaging platform for Singal, Telegram, and others. The competitor instant messaging apps saw huge growth over a span of just a few months, but did it last long?

No. People around the world are accustomed, or rather habitual, to using WhatsApp to connect with each other. Despite knowing that their privacy policy is shady, to say the very least, people remained tied to the platform and continue using it to this date.

"Humans are creatures of habit and routine", and WhatsApp has exploited that to a huge extent. Moreover, the fact that anybody and everybody is on the platform doesn't allow users to switch to the competitor platforms. Lastly, yes, WhatsApp is late to the party. But due to the immense popularity and the number of people using the platform, it will (again) get away with adding these features later than never.

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