WhatsApp is a cross platform messenger app that was started as a small startup by Jan Koum and Brain Acton in 2009. The main aim of the messenger app is to help all the users communicate with one another without any hindrance and that is why even the user interface of the messenger app is designed in a simple format.
The WhatsApp messenger service is available in 180 countries across the globe and it is available in all different operating systems like Google Android, iPhone and Microsoft Windows, so the users can send the message from one operating system to another. The app requires only a stable internet connectivity to send and receive the messages. The users can send text messages, pictures, videos, voice messages, Pdf files, documents, GIF messages, contacts, audio files, voice notes and share locations.
With nine hundred million active users the app provided free service to the users and became the popular messenger service when there were quite a few services like Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Viber, Line and etc were available online. The WhatsApp messenger service is also available for the desktop and Web users and so people without a smartphone can also communicate with the others using the respective application interface.
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The grand acquisition
Facebook is one of the widely used social media platforms by users from all parts of the world and the users can post and share pictures, videos, messages and other things on the platform. But a few years back the social media platform had a slip in its business causing many of its users to leave the service.
Many tech companies tried to acquire the instant messenger app, but they failed to do so. However, Facebook acquired WhatsApp messenger service for $19B. This is one of the biggest investments made by the company till date.
The acquisition benefits both the social media network and instant messenger app. Facebook that was losing its traditional users was able to retain the users and also tap new users to the service. It also brings goodwill towards the service and also increases the consumer base of the service. While WhatsApp being acquired by a tech giant brings it to the lime light and it gets even more attention among the people and the chances of new user registration increases.
As expected, WhatsApp that had nine hundred billion users reached 1B users soon after the acquisition. Soon the user interface and other features in the messenger app resembled Instagram, Facebook Messenger because of the influence of Facebook.
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Features of the messenger app
WhatsApp keeps updating its features and user interface making it even more efficient and reliable. And these updates are mostly launched after being acquired by Facebook.
This is one of the most important and popular features among all other features. The messages send in the platform are secured and protected by the end to end encryption service so that WhatsApp or any other third party cannot read or badge the calls that the user makes on this platform.
The messages sent by the users are associated with a lock and a key to unlock the message, so the encrypted messages can only be unlocked by the intended recipient. Many government organizations and functional bodies are against this feature because they are unable to retrieve the messages and they fear that it might pave way for the terrorist activities.
The users can share their location with their family and friends and this is the new feature that is beneficial for the people when they are in a new city or country. Also when the users are traveling to a location alone, they can share the location so that they can be easily reached in case of emergency.
Change font style
The app enables the users to change the font style of the messages they send. To change the style of the font the user has to use the single colon (‘) symbol 3 times on both the sides of the particular word in the case of the Android devices and iOs users can simply copy and paste the symbol on both the sides of the word. For example, if the user wishes to change the font of the word happy – they have to use ‘’’happy’’’.
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Formatting the text
Like changing the font style, WhatsApp also has a formatting feature that helps to modify the format of a word or a sentence. Different types of symbol are used on either side of the words or sentence and it will format the word accordingly.
- The (~) tilde symbol can be used to strike through a word, for example ~hello~
- The (_) underscore symbol can be used to italicize a word, for example _hello_
- The (*) asterisk symbol can be used to bold a word, for example *hello*
The users can also add multiple symbols to format a word.
With a large number of people accessing the app for both professional and personal use, it is mandatory for the app to improve and advance its features so as to retain the existing users. The app already allows the users to share photos, videos, audio messages, GIF messages and much more, and now has gone a step further by allowing the users to share from the drives directly.
To protect and reduce the space, people store their photos, documents and files on the drive where they are safe and secure. And now users can directly share a document from the iCloud Drive or Google Drive. To share the document, the user must click on the upward arrow that is found in the text window, where they get the ‘Share Document’ option and it shows the different cloud platform from which the users can select the file or document they wish to share and send it to their friends or colleague through the messaging app.
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Individual chat shortcut
The WhatsApp users can create a shortcut of the individual chat and add it to their home screen. For linking the chat to the home screen the user should tap and hold on the chat and the option to create shortcut will appear (Add Conversation Shortcut). On creating the shortcut, the display picture of the person appears on the home screen and this option is available only for the Android users.
The android users can even reply to a message without opening the messenger application by enabling the reply feature. To enable the feature the app user should select the Settings option and click on the Notifications and select the ‘Always show popup’ option, so the users can automatically reply to the messages. The Apple users do not have this feature; however, they can download the third party application to use the quick reply option.
New beta feature
The company seems to be testing a new feature in the beta version and it happens to roll out in to a new software update that can be accessed by both the Apple and Android users. The pinning chat is the new feature that is being tested by WhatsApp that enables the users to pin the chat to the top of the conversation list. When the user press and hold the chat, they get another option to pin the chat along with the mute and delete option. Selecting the pin option will pin the chat in the top list and it becomes easy for the user.
In the beta version, the users are limited only to pin 3 chats and they have the option to switch between the chats and add other member’s chat to the list. The new feature is available in version 2.17.162 or 2.17.163 for Android users. The main advantage of the pin feature is that the pinned chat remains at the top of the conversation list irrespective of the individual chats or the chat timings.