Newest version of WhatsApp on Android introduces competitive new features
WhatsApp has been hard at work lately adding features in order to compete with the likes of Signal and Telegram. However, there are a few new features already making their way to the Android app, including one that is still in the beta testing phase.
According to WABetaInfo (via Techradar), the new features are in addition to the status update ones that were announced last week, which were meant for both iOS and Android. These additional new features target the Android app specifically and were spotted when they appeared in the release notes of the latest version available via the Google Play Store.
The version in question is 22.214.171.124, which has an update date of February 13th, and lists the below new features:
- You can now add captions when sending documents
- Added support for longer group subjects and descriptions to better describe your group
- You can now send up to 100 photos / videos at once (vs. 30 previously)
- You can now create personalized avatars and use them as stickers and profile photos. Go to Settings > Avatar to get started.
The most prominent and useful one of all the aforementioned features, at least to me, happens to be the increase in the number of photos and videos that can be sent all at once within a conversation. Going from 30 to 100 is quite the leap and hopefully enough for even the most active photographers.
However, there is one rumored upcoming feature that has not yet made it out of beta: Disappearing Messages. The ephemeral message feature, made popular initially by Snapchat, is currently only available in the beta version of the app. Additionally, the beta version also includes a “Kept Messages” folder, which is meant to store the disappearing messages you prefer to keep indefinitely. Sadly, the beta version of WhatsApp for Android is currently full and not accepting new registrations.
All of these changes come at a time when Will Cathcart, Head of WhatsApp at Meta, is launching an all-out war against Telegram by urging his Twitter followers not to use that app, going as far as to label it as “Russian spyware.” So far, this battle has been beneficial for WhatsApp users in that it has sparked some innovation and new features to be launched. It will be interesting to see how far this goes and how much we as users can get out of it.