WhatsApp Payments, Group Calling to Stickers: Top features rolled out on WhatsApp this year
WhatsApp had a feature-rich year with new developments on user interface, group chats, and business as well. Here’s a look at the top features that made it to WhatsApp this year.
2018 has been an exciting year for WhatsApp. The Facebook-owned messaging platform introduced many new and interesting features for users.
In India, WhatsApp's biggest feature was the introduction of its UPI-based payments service which is still running on beta. This year also saw new developments like group video calling on WhatsApp. The messaging app is also testing features like dark mode, media previews and vacation mode on its beta platform.
With 2018 coming to a close, we look at the top features released on WhatsApp this year.
WhatsApp began the year with the launch of its payment service in February. WhatsApp's payment service is based on the Indian government's Unified Payment Interface (UPI). Although available on beta, this service has registered over 200 million users in India. WhatsApp's payment feature is available on the attach file button.
Here, users with a UPI-enabled bank account can register their account and send money to their contacts. WhatsApp says that their payments service is end-to-end encrypted like all content on the platform. WhatsApp is yet to receive a nod from the government for a full-fledge launch of its payment service.
Group chats on WhatsApp received many features this year with more control to admins. WhatsApp users can add group descriptions in addition to the name of the group. WhatsApp also made it easier to remove admins from group chats with 'Dismiss As Admin' feature. With this, the creator of the group can remove any admin from their post on WhatsApp. Group admins also have the option to restrict some functions for admins like changing the group subject, icon and description.
WhatsApp's group mentions got a much needed upgrade with the option to show users unread chats. Whenever a user is mentioned on group chats, they can check it with a shortcut button on opening the chat. WhatsApp also introduced search option for members on the 'Group Info' section.
Announced at Facebook's F8 2018 conference in May, WhatsApp introduced its group calling feature for users in June. As the name suggests, this feature lets users make group audio and video calls on the platform. WhatsApp allows up to four participants on a group call. Once users make an audio or video call on WhatsApp, they can tap on the call icon to add more users to the conversation. The receivers can also add other members to the group call.
Following continuous flake from the government over fake news, WhatsApp made some changes to forwarded messages on the platform. It limited sending forward messages to only five chats on WhatsApp. Also, these messages have the 'forwarded' label on top. This is one of the few ways WhatsApp aims to curb fake news in India.
Swipe to reply
One of the most useful features on WhatsApp is the reply shortcut. Earlier on Android users could reply to messages with a long press on the text. WhatsApp later updated this feature by introducing 'Swipe to Reply'. Users can now simply swipe right on a text to reply. This feature has been available on WhatsApp for iOS for years now.
Possibly one of the most awaited features on WhatsApp was the 'Stickers Pack'. Launched just last month, WhatsApp introduced Stickers on the app. This is the third addition to WhatsApp's native features including emoji and GIFs. WhatsApp has some sticker packs available on the app. It also allows users to download third-party sticker apps from Play Store and App Store. Users can even customise stickers with their own photos.
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