Facebook-owned WhatsApp is testing a new feature that brings a ‘Status’ tab to home screen. The new feature will allow users to share images or videos [with customized elements such as emoji or doodles] to various contacts for a limited period of time [24 hours]. After which these will disappear.
The new features sound similar to the Instagram Stories, which were announced by the company in August. Both WhatsApp Status and Instagram Stories borrow heavily from Snapchat Stories, though. The popular Snapchat feature is one of the biggest USP of the app.
As per Mashable, WhatsApp is now testing the new Status features in the app’s newest public beta build for iOS and Android. In order to try the new feature, you will need a rooted Android or a Jailbroken iOS device.
The Status feature appears as its own tab in between the Chats and Calls icon. The new feature update adds a ‘Camera’ tab to home screen next to the calls tab. Once clicked, the Status tab allows you to add a new status with a picture or write a text or an emoji. This will be visible to all your contacts on WhatsApp. Users will still be able to change their status by tapping on the three dots on the upper right corner that looks like three-fourths of a circle and a plus sign.
The new WhatsApp Status feature will allow users to share several updates throughout the day. Considering the immense user base of the app, this might create a new micro social network. Users will be able to share new updates with every contact stored on the app.
The new feature uses captured images or videos already stored in the smartphone’s media library. Once selected, users will can then customize their images by doodling or adding text. You can also add a caption to the Status post.
However, there is no direct way to delete the ‘Status’ images or videos shared in the ‘Status’ tab. Once a Status is shared, it will appear in the Status tab and could not be manually deleted. It automatically removes itself after 24 hours. As of now, there is no option to shorten or lengthen the available time of a Status post. However, users will be allowed to choose the contacts that will be able to receive these Status updates.
The Snapchat Stories was launched three years ago. Clearly, Facebook is trying to replicate the immensely popular feature in its offerings. However, adding such feature to WhatsApp might be a start of something bigger. The instant messaging app may end up being a new alternative to the already overflowed Facebook app.
Facebook is also testing Messenger Day, which adds similar capabilities to its Messenger app. However, there is no information about a public release about the Messenger Day or WhatsApp Status.