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[UPDATE: experimental GIF support] WhatsApp beta update for Android brings Mentions support, video calling still in the works

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UPDATE: A lot of our readers have been complaining that they’re unable to see the GIF feature on their WhatsApp application, even when they’re a part of the beta group. It seems that GIF support — which allowed you to send videos as GIFs — was an experimental feature that has been removed from the current beta update.

It was available to me for a couple previous beta versions, starting with #2.16.242. But it now seems to have ‘also’ vanished(for me) in the latest updated version #2.16.274 and replaced by the funky Snapchat-like editing features.

I had used the GIF support feature to share a couple ‘trial’ GIFs with my friends. Underneath, I’m attaching a small video snippet of the same, where the GIF is playing natively in the WhatsApp environment. Scroll down further for another update!

UPDATE[22/09/16, 1:45 P.M] — We have been looking into the GIF support feature since last night, and have come across some clashing viewpoints. The GIF support for beta users seems to have been phased out, but users of the ‘non-beta’ app can still send a GIF(but this is a sort of workaround as the video is sent as a looping GIF, and saved as a .mp4 as well). Steps are listed below:

  • In any WhatsApp conversation, tap the attachment icon at the top
  • Choose Camera, then Record video
  • Record the video and select OK
  • In WhatsApp’s interface for trimming the video, tap the upper right corner camcorder icon, it’ll switch to a GIF icon
  • Send.

whatsapp-screenshots

PREVIOUSLY: WhatsApp, if you’re unaware, runs a beta program for Android users to give them a taste of a hoard of all new features that could soon make an appearance in the official release. And today, the messaging giant has issued yet another beta release, that brings with it a much-needed useful feature to make group conversations less confusing.

If you’re good at the guessing game, then you might have easily guessed — Mentions! Bravo, my friend!

The mentions feature which was first introduced on Twitter, Facebook(and now accepted by all) was aimed at making conversations simple and convenient. In the latest version #2.16.272 of the beta app, WhatsApp has now added the much requested mentions feature to group chats.

So, how does the mentions feature actually work? Well, the functionality of quoting a person in a group chat is exactly similar to the aforementioned social networks. Once you’re inside a group conversation, just type in the (@) symbol. You can also follow up the (@) symbol with an alphabet to directly select a particular person, or choose from the list of possible names you can tag in that group. It shows you — either the name you’ve used to save the contact or the WhatsApp username of that person.

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whatsapp-beta

You now not only have the option to tag multiple persons in a single message, but also a random phone number that is a part of the group. The mentions appear in ‘blue‘ as a link, and can be tapped to open the profile page of that individual. This works inside the Android app as well as the WhatsApp web interface, where you can see the profile in a box that opens on the right side of the chat window.

Another major and useful feature that users have been begging to add to the messaging app is now finally here. Yes, WhatsApp now supports GIFs, but can currently be sent only using a smartphone. This feature will surely receive a warm welcome from all users, especially trolls who’ve been waiting long to have some much needed fun on the messaging app.

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Prior to this beta update, WhatsApp had introduced some new functionalities to the calling UI, with the addition of a callback and a voicemail feature. It had also introduced some new text formatting features to help users convey their thoughts in different types of text.

And last but not the least, let’s talk the feature that has been speculated to be coming to WhatsApp in the near future. The video calling feature is expected to debut on the iOS app, but eventually make its way to Android and Windows users in the consecutive weeks.

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This feature will bring one-on-one video conversations(group to be added later) to the 1 billion user strong messaging platform, and that’s enough to trump the recently launched Google Duo. One could also expect it give a tough competition to the renowned FaceTime feature on Apple devices.

A hands-on guy fascinated by new apps, technologies and enterprise products.

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    • Yes, you’re right about the fact that one can easily forward the GIFs that’ve once been circulated during the experimental feature addition. This proves that they’re supported and are coming to the app very soon, but since it has now been replaced with the ‘sketch’ features — one cannot send gifs anymore.

  • As you said regarding GIF…we can send only the video taken at that moment as GIF…But how can we send a GIF that is already stored in our phone??
    Is there a option for this without converting the GIF into video and again into GIF….

  • To send animated .GIF images on WhatsApp:

    First tap the attachment icon at the top in any group or individual chat and Choose Camera.
    Then Record a small video clip and select ‘ ✓ ‘ or OK.
    Now tap the camcorder icon at upper right corner. It will switch to a GIF icon.
    Send. :))

  • Q. How to send small Video clips as Animated .GIF images on WhatsApp?

    Answer:
    Open any group or individual chat conversation in WhatsApp.

    Tap the attachment icon 📎 at the top right corner.

    Then choose ‘Gallery’ option.

    It will show all your photos and videos stored on your smart phone.

    At upper left side ‘Photos’…
    and next to it ‘Videos’ at right side.

    Click on ‘Videos’.

    Then select any small video clip from your phone’s gallery.

    Now tap the camcorder icon at upper right corner. It will switch to a GIF icon.

    Send. :))