Facebook-owned WhatsApp is testing a new feature named Status that will allow users to share images and videos, containing customized elements such as emoji and doodles that disappear after 24 hours from being shared.
If the feature sounds familiar, it is because it is very similar to Instagram Stories, which Facebook announced for the picture-sharing service in August. WhatsApp Status and Instagram Stories, however, closely resemble Snapchat Stories — a feature that played a significant role in the ephemeral messaging app's massive growth rate.
WhatsApp is now testing Status, with Mashable reporting that the feature is hidden in the app's newest public beta build for iOS and Android. Beta testers with access to a jailbroken iPhone or a rooted Android-powered smartphone can now try out the feature.
The New WhatsApp Status Feature
In the beta build, the Status feature appears as its own tab in between the Chats and Calls icon. There is also a new button near the upper right corner of the app that looks like three-fourths of a circle and a plus sign. Tapping this button will allow the user to add a new Status post.
WhatsApp Status looks to encourage users to share several updates over the course of a day, with the posts able to be shared to every contact stored on the app. The feature can utilize captured images or videos or content already stored in the smartphone's media library. After choosing which image or video to post, users can then customize them by doodling or adding text, and can also add a caption to the Status post.
Once a Status is shared, it will appear in the Status tab and could not be manually deleted until it automatically removes itself after 24 hours. There is no option to shorten or lengthen the time that a Status post is available, but users are allowed to choose which of their contacts will be able to receive their Status updates, either by selecting the contacts manually or choosing all and then picking out the contacts to exclude.
Facebook Copies Snapchat Again
When Snapchat Stories was launched three years ago, it led to massive growth for the app as daily video views on the platform soared. This is the kind of growth the Facebook is looking to replicate, as it moves to respond to Snapchat.
It seems that Facebook is now looking to include a Snapchat Stories clone across the social apps that it owns. With Instagram Stories seeing massive success, Facebook is also testing Messenger Day, another feature that adds similar capabilities to the Messenger communications app of the social network.
There is no definite launch date yet for Messenger Day, likewise for WhatsApp Status. There is also no assurance that the features being tested will lead to a global public release.