You wanted it, didn’t you ? Well, here it is — in a limited capacity though. Facebook owned IM app Whatsapp, which recently hit the 1 Billion MAU mark, is announcing the launch of document sharing on its platform. At the launch though, this will only be restricted to PDFs and is coming only to the iOS and Android version.
There is no official announcement though. We are reporting this after several users have seen the feature pop up alongside other sharing options, like photo or video sharing, contact sharing, or location sharing, for example.
As for how it works, it is fairly simply. On Android, you can simply tap to the attachment button you see while sending photos, videos and audio files. You will see a new, ‘Document’ icon appearing there. Click on that and you are in business — only PDFs are supported at launch though.
On iOS, you tap the arrow icon in the chat then pick “Share Document” from the menu that appears.
Image : TechCrunch
For a start, users who reported this feature were able to share documents via multiple third-party sources like Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive among others. But again, the feature is limited to PDFs only at the time, amore broader roll put though can be expected with the official launch of this feature. In some cases, WhatsApp won’t even display the other file types that are present on the cloud storage service you pick, so as to limit user confusion.
The feature will work only if both sender and receiver have the latest Whatsapp update installed. If the receiver hasn’t got the update, files on’t send, with sender’s Whatsapp popping up a note reading that the contact has to “update WhatsApp to receive documents.”
Image : TechCrunch
In cases when both sender and the receiver have the feature installed, the receiver sees a full preview of the PDF being share, along with details like the size, type etc.
As for supporting other file types, we are pretty much certain that most document types will be supported soon. That is because of two main reasons — you won’t provide a dedicated space in the attachments part just to share one kind of file, and the other being Whatsapp’s increased focus to get more business customers to use its service.
This could also be a way for Whatsapp to earn revenues — with one possible way being limiting the size of file you can share for free, and introducing a business plan for corporates to share whole set of presentations, PDFs, Docs and more.
While the official roll out is yet to be announced, the feature is arriving now on both iOS and Android, though not yet Windows Phone.