Snapchat Stories is wildly popular. Indeed, it appears to be almost more popular among Snapchat’s competitors than its audience. Instagram copied it, Facebook copied it and now, it seems like WhatsApp is copying the feature as well with the launch of its new “Status” feature. The feature is available in an all new tab in the WhatsApp interface, and lets you share decorated photos, videos, and GIFs with friends. Similar to Stories, everything you share here disappears after 24 hours.
Announcing the feature, a blog post from Jan Koum, CEO & Co-Founder, WhatsApp, said:
We are excited to announce that, coinciding with WhatsApp’s 8th birthday on February 24, we are reinventing the status feature. Starting today, we are rolling out an update to status, which allows you to share images and videos with your friends and contacts on WhatsApp in an easy and secure way. Yes, even your status updates are end-to-end encrypted.
WhatsApp Status appears to be a very close copy of Snapchat Stories. In fact, the biggest difference might lie in the fact that WhatsApp’s “Status” feature is encrypted — much like the rest of the app. However, that is just another point in it’s favor. The company first tested the feature in beta mode in November, however, it is now rolling it out to the general public.
Using the Status Tab, users can watch updates from their friends and contacts and and reply privately, should they want to. Users can post all kind of stuff as part of their status. This includes shooting and decorating images with drawings and captions, before using them as part of your Status updates.
This is actually a quantum leap on Status’s part, which was a pretty basic feature that still resembled what it was when first created — almost eight years ago. In fact, it might interest you to know that WhatsApp was created as an app that let friends know what you were up to. So Status was the feature that was first created, with messaging added months later.
Here is what status looked like back then:
And here is the new status:
Meanwhile, the news could herald signs of trouble for Snapchat, which has already seen user growth for its stories feature fall by a massive 82 percent after Instagram launched Stories of its own. With its 1 Billion+ users, WhatsApp is a much more formidable opponent than even Instagram. Although the app has historically been used more for text based messaging with the occasional video or image thrown in to spice up the conversation.
Meanwhile, there have been concerns that adding to much frill too WhatsApp could serve to distract users, who have always been partial to the minimalistic, no-nonsense interface WhatsApp offers. That could be why the company has created a separate tab for the feature, making it more of an optional thing.