Whatsapp, which is reportedly used by more than a billion people in over 180 countries around the globe, is currently used primarily as an instant messaging service.
Now, to coincide with the app’s eight birthday on 24 February, Whatsapp Status is being launched.
What is the update?
In short, Whatsapp Status is another way of sharing photos, videos and GIFs with your friends that will disappear within 24 hours.
Yes we’ve heard this one before, just like the Instagram stories launch, the Facebook-owned format is uncannily similar to Snapchat.
And the copycat even allows you to annotate with text and images in the same way as the other apps.
In a blog on the official Whatsapp website, CEO Jan Koum, traced the origins of this idea back to the beginning of Whatsapp, nine years ago.
Back when the Whatsapp status tab, which was text only, looked something more like this.
Long-term users may remember the first format with a status that meant you could tell friends where you were – at school, at the movies, at the gym, or if your phone battery was about to die.
Koum explains: “The original idea behind the project was to build an application that lets your friends and other contacts know what you’re up to. This was months before we added messaging.
“Every year, when Brian and I would plan projects to work on, we always talked about improving and evolving this original ‘text only’ status feature.”
Which is how we’ve got to where we are today.
How do I use it?
A new tab will be available on your Whatsapp, which allows you to take and upload photos, then annotate them before sending them to your friends and contacts.
Users can watch updates from friends, reply privately, shoot and adorn their imagery with drawings and captions and send them to specific contacts.
Whatsapp tested the feature in November, and now the tab is rolling out worldwide on iOS, Android and Windows phone.
You are able to control who can see your updates in your Whatsapp privacy settings.
How is it different to other apps?
Just like the rest of Whatsapp messenger, the Whatsapp Status function will also have end-to-end encryption, meaning greater security for you than other apps are offering with their story functions.