The express is reporting that WhatsApp has launched its new blockbuster update earlier than planned.
The popular messaging app, which has over a billion users worldwide, has rolled out its new WhatsApp Status feature to users across Android and iOS smartphones.
WhatsApp Status lets users send updates using photo and video content to their friends, much like Snapchat or Instagram’s Stories.
THE NEW STATUS W
HICH WAS ORIGINALLY SET TO LAUNCH ON FRIDAY
These can be further customised by adding emoji and text annotations, with a wide variety of colours available.
Like Instagram and Snapchat, you can set up multiple updates, which will play one after the other, giving your contacts a full view of your day.
The new Status feature can be accessed via a new menu on the WhatsApp home page
YOUR FRIENDS CAN REACT TO A STATUS BY TAPPING ON REPLY
Your friends can react to a Status by tapping on ‘reply’ – with the response sent as a new WhatsApp message.
Much like Snapchat, the updates will disappear after 24 hours, with WhatsApp stressing that all are fully encrypted end-to-end.
Users can liven up their Status with images, GIFs and videos
“When we noticed people were using the feature to communicate in real time, we redesigned WhatsApp as a messaging app,” WhatsAppp CEO Jan Koum wrote.
“This new and improved status feature will let you keep your friends who use WhatsApp easily updated in a fun and simple way.”
Previously, WhatsApp users were only able to set their own message as a status, or choose from a number of pre-set alternatives such as “At Work” or “Available”.
The launch comes days after Android users were finally able to enjoy hundreds of new WhatsApp emoji as part of another major update.
The update included a facepalm, selfie, pregnant woman, a mother and a son, and a father with two kids, as well as a number of new gender diversity and sexuality options, with female versions of many jobs, sports and activity emoji that had previously only had a male symbol.
There is also a new rainbow flag emoji, along with a number of same-sex couple icons.
WhatsApp can now play any video received in a chat right away, without needing to wait for it to download first.
Videos will still be downloaded to your phone, which will occur in the background, but this update means there’s no need to hold on to start watching.
Also included is animated GIF support, allowing Android users to send and receive GIFs for the first time, and improvements to WhatsApp video calling.