Close on the heels of announcing that it was doing away with the $1 yearly subscription fee and becoming free for life, popular messaging service WhatsApp has a few new features up its sleeve.

The Facebook-owned service is looking to bolster security. In order to make user conversations more secure, WhatsApp is eyeing the inclusion of an encryption indicator, which will be imbibed in the app in an impending update.

Moreover, the popular messaging app is on course to have closer integration with Facebook's services as it will be sharing user data with the social media site.

How do we know all this you ask? Thanks to Spanish developer Javier Santos who spotted the upcoming features in the Android beta of the app. For the uninitiated, Santos is the brains behind the Beta Updater for WhatsApp Android app, which enables users to install the most current beta version of the messaging service. This is the same version which Facebook's WhatsApp team makes accessible through

Santos discovered the new features after installing the beta version of WhatsApp for Android. While sifting through its interface, he chanced across the new settings which are in the control panel of the app.

"More screenshots leaked about WhatsApp sharing your account information with Facebook," says Santos.

One of the new options according to Santos' Google+ post is "Share my account info" and selecting this will basically share the user's WhatsApp account information with Facebook "to improve Facebook experience."

However, this setting that comes across as intrusive is switched off by default, which is a saving grace. Therefore, it will not invade tour privacy and sync data between your Facebook and WhatsApp accounts automatically. Linking your WhatsApp account to your Facebook account will be optional.

For those wondering how the siphoned data from WhatsApp will benefit Facebook, it will aid advertisers.

Additionally, the WhatsApp Android app version 2.12.413 also has a security tab where users can toggle to check if their messages are indeed secure and encrypted. The messages are automatically encrypted and thanks to the end-to-end encryption, users' conversations cannot be spied on.

Judging by Santos' other post, the new version will give users the choice of getting alerts, which will notify them if the messages being exchanged are end-to-end encrypted.

If a user goes to the Security tab of version 2.12.413, he or she will espy the "Show security indicators" option. Toggling this on will bring a lock icon to a user's encrypted conversations on WhatsApp.

WhatsApp also reportedly intends to imbibe features such as video calling and document sharing in the near term.

Photo : Sam Azgor | Flickr

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