In what could perhaps be one of the most significant updates to WhatsApp post ‘WhatsApp Business’ launch, the popular IM platform has now announced the launch of “communities”. This would now allow people to club various WhatsApp groups under one umbrella, making it easier to locate and communicate to various sections within the same organisations.

This could very well be inspire from how Slack works. You have several channels, wherein you can add multiple members, all of which comes under one single umbrella of your parent organisation. WhatsApp has been eyeing to position itself as potent tool to businesses as well, rather than just a personal instant messaging app. And this new feature could be yet another step in that direction.

In an official blog post, this is how WhatsApp describes the new ‘communities’ feature,

Communities on WhatsApp will enable people to bring together separate groups under one umbrella with a structure that works for them. That way people can receive updates sent to the entire Community and easily organize smaller discussion groups on what matters to them. Communities will also contain powerful new tools for admins, including announcement messages that are sent to everyone and control over which groups can be included.

And once again, that sounds pretty similar to Slack’s way of operating channels. Here’s how it looks:

Communities, like rest of WhatsApp, will be secured via the platform’s end-to-end encryption. Also, all communities will inherently be private, addressing crucial concerns among Non profits and social groups of state-sponsored monitoring and hacking of their accounts and chats.

Fresh new changes to WhatsApp groups

Additionally, WhatsApp is also rolling out a slew of new changes to its ‘groups’, bringing it at par with something like an iMessage or Meta’s Messenger.

  • Reactions – Emoji reactions are coming to WhatsApp so people can quickly share their opinion without flooding chats with new messages.
  • Admin Delete – Group admins will be able to remove errant or problematic messages from everyone’s chats.
  • File Sharing – We’re increasing file sharing to support files up to 2 gigabytes so people can easily collaborate on projects.
  • Larger Voice Calls – We’ll introduce one-tap voice calling for up to 32 people with all new design for those times when talking live is better than chatting.

“While other apps are building chats for hundreds of thousands of people, we’re choosing to focus on supporting the groups that are part of our daily lives.”, WhatsApp added.