Since becoming a member of the Facebook family of apps, which now includes Instagram, Facebook itself, Facebook Messenger, Oculus VR, and the selfie-editing app MSQRD, WhatsApp has announced a number of changes to one of the world’s most popular messaging apps.
The most notable of these, perhaps, is the decision to change the app’s official name from “WhatsApp” to “WhatsApp from Facebook”. Instagram will also be known as “Instagram from Facebook”.
According to a spokesperson from Facebook Inc. the rebranding was done to “be clearer about the products and services that are part of Facebook”.
Aside from the name change, Android WhatsApp users will now also have the ability to unlock the messaging app with their fingerprints. While users will still be able to see message notifications and answer calls, and the fingerprint security measure will only be required when users want to open the app. This feature, which is currently in the beta stage of development, will be available to Android users running Android Marshmallow or later.
Android users of the messaging app have also had access to voice commands, allowing them to read and reply to messages on WhatsApp using Google voice commands since a little earlier this year.
To better monetise WhatsApp, Facebook announced in May that it would start showing ads on the app’s status page from 2020, and added that a business catalogue feature, allowing users to browse different products is also planned as part of WhatsApp’s platform redesign.
In July this year, WABetaInfo announced plans to allow users to access one WhatsApp account from multiple devices, and across iOS and Android devices simultaneously.
WABetaInfo has also reported that WhatsApp is currently working on a feature which lets users post their WhatsApp status update to Facebook. There is also talk of the addition of in-app QR codes, currently under development for the iOS and Android versions of WhatsApp, with which users will be able to share contact details.
Many of the announced new features are still under development, but regular updates of WhatsApp on your smartphone will ensure that you gain access to the features as they are released. Keep an eye on Smartcom’s blog for the latest news about changes coming to your favourite apps.