WhatsApp just pushed out several new features from its beta room to an official release on Google Play, bringing the messaging app up to version 2.12.250.

The stars of this update include the ability to mark chats read or unread, individual mute, custom chat notifications, new emoji and new colors for old emoji.

In the context menu for conversations, users can mark a message as read or unread. Invoking this context menu requires only a long-press.

Elsewhere, users can now mute overly chatty individuals and anyone else they don't want to hear from for a while. Users can mute chats for 8 hours, a week or a year!

The new custom notification allows users to set tones, vibrate, colors and pop-ups to alert them to new or updated conversations.

And finally, WhatsApp version 2.12.250 includes some new emoji and colors. The new emoji includes the middle finger gesture used since antiquity, along with a Vulcan salute and some new LGBT characters. 

Here's a full run down of what's up with WhatsApp:

  • Per chat custom notification settings and mute
  • Mark chats as unread or read
  • Added new emoji. You can also tap and hold on some emoji to choose a different color.
  • When receiving a contact card, you can now quickly message or save the contact if they're on WhatsApp
  • Lower the data usage used during WhatsApp calls in Settings > Chats and Calls
  • Language support for Urdu and Bengali 

Despite Facebook easing off the pedal to WhatsApp's marketing drive, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg lately indicated that the company is playing the long game with the $19 billion acquisition. He wants interaction on the app to grow organically.

"If you go back to 2006 and 2007, there were a lot of people that were encouraging us to just put banner ads and inorganic content into the experience" said Zuckerberg. "And what we decided was that over the long-term, the ads and monetization would perform better if there was an organic interaction between people using the product and businesses." 

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