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WhatsApp seems to be testing a new ‘Status’ feature, similar to Instagram(or Snapchat) Stories

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Ever since its inception, WhatsApp kept simplicity its top priority and still amassed over a billion users for its wildly popular messaging client. But the company has recently not only changed its privacy policy to share data with its parent Facebook but also started extensively testing new features to extend the functionality of its offering.

Today, the addition of a new feature has been discovered in the beta version of the WhatsApp Android app. It is an exclusive new ‘Status’ tab on the home screen of the app. WhatsApp has always provided you the capability to share a status but it has been only text till date — and that is still present. But, the company now seems to be extending the functionality of the same in a fashion similar to that of Instagram Stories — which is a rip-off from rival Snapchat.

This move is pretty unexpected from WhatsApp but with Facebook handling the reigns of the messaging client, one can expect any functionality from Snapchat being ported to its family of apps. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has recently been reiterating its video-first strategy, with the prediction that video will definitely be central for communication in the future. He possibly also harbors a grudge(or immense love) for Snapchat and its immensely popular features. That’s why he is hell bent on porting over the best features of the same into his stack of apps.

The existence of ‘Status’ tab was first spotted by Twitter user WABetaInfo, who discovered a new tab for publishing status updates. He then shared photo evidence to confirm that this new feature is expected to quite similar to the one introduced in Instagram a couple months ago.

In combination to the tabs on the top, WhatsApp seems to have added a new camera button — similar to the one seen in the Instagram app. You can tap this button to possibly record a 10-second video clip or click a photograph to share as a ‘Status’ with your contacts — not all. WhatsApp is possibly also updating its privacy features to fall in line with this ephemeral status feature. It will allow you to either upload the status for anybody to access or send it only to specific people in your contact list.

Now, before you fret and scroll down to comment that it doesn’t exist in your beta app, let me warn you that the feature is currently hidden. You might have updated to the latest beta #2.16.336 but will not be able to see this ‘Status’ tab because it is still hidden in the code and can only be surfaced by tweaking the code. This means that WhatsApp is possibly testing the ‘Status’ functionality and is still not ready to share it with the beta testers.

If you’re adventurous and want to test out new WhatsApp features, such as GIF support and video calling, before they are made available in the stable release then join its Android Beta program on the Play Store.

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

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