g app WhatsApp is working on solutions to enable businesses to use its platform to connect with consumers and India will play a "crucial role" for the product, a company official said today.
Last year, the Facebook-owned company had said WhatsApp will test tools that allow users to communicate with businesses and organisations like banks and airlines through its platform.
9 new features of WhatsApp
9 new features of WhatsApp
When it comes to instant messaging apps, there s hardly a name that s more well-known that WhatsApp. The Facebook-owned cross-platform app is the most popular instant messaging service out there, and more than one billion people across the world use it on a daily basis to communicate in real-time and share everything from photos to videos.
But WhatsApp isn t just about textual conversations and media sharing, not anymore. Thanks to continued development, the app now boasts numerous other functionalities.
Want to find out more? Here are 9 relatively new features of WhatsApp.
Often miss the call back feature when making WhatsApp calls? WhatsApp has finally heard you.
With v2.16.189, users get a call back option in the app. The feature appears on the app screen after a call is declined.
GIF sharing support
Sharing images with a group of friends is fun, but sharing animated GIFs is even better. And with WhatsApp, it s easy to do.
All you have to do is select a GIF saved on your smartphone and send it to the contact/group with whom you d like to share it. Shared GIFs appear with full animations.
You can not only share GIFs on WhatsApp, you can directly find them as well. The app recently started rolling out GIF search support to its beta app on Android.
After update, users can search for different types of GIFs right within the app itself. The same feature was rolled out to iOS users back in November 2016.
Looking for a feature-loaded Skype alternative? WhatsApp is all that you need. The app now supports video-calling functionality that lets you have video chats with your contacts.
To do so, simply open up a WhatsApp conversation with the contact you wish to video call, tap on the call icon on the top right corner and then select the Video Call option.
Enhance images with doodles and emojis
Taking a cue from rival Snapchat, WhatsApp now lets you personalize the photos by overlaying emojis or doodling on them before sharing them with others.
All you have to do is take a picture right from the app s built-in camera interface and these new editing tools will appear on the photo for quick customization. So go ahead, unleash your creativity.
Optimized video-calling feature for India
WhatsApp claims that its video-calling feature is optimized for telecom networks in regions like India.
The company s vice president of business development Neeraj Arora recently told Economic Times, "How we have built this product is just like voice calls, which is if you have a great network condition - a Wi-Fi or 4G - it will be HD quality, and you start moving to conditions which are not that great, it will be slightly low resolution, we hope it will still work but the quality will go up and down a little depending upon the quality of the network.”
Support for 10 Indian languages
WhatsApp can be used in 10 local Indian languages.
Neeraj Arora, its VP of business development, said, “The important thing to note here is a lot of this work has been done by our own users. It’s crowd sourced, a lot of users were passionate about using WhatsApp in their own languages so we gave them a tool to help us translate WhatsApp in their own language.”
Share 30 media files at once
Post a recent update, WhatsApp has increased the maximum number of media files that can be shared with other users at one time to 30. Earlier, the maximum number of shareable media files at a time was 10.
The new features are available for Android users on WhatsApp s beta version 2.17.6 and are expected to be rolled out to everyone soon.
Send messages even without internet
Apple iPhone users can now send WhatsApp messages even in areas of poor or no internet connectivity. The feature, which has already been there in Android smartphones for some time now, was rolled out to iOS devices days ago.
With the update users get the queue messages feature. This means that users can send messages to an individual or group even when there is not connectivity and the message will be automatically delivered once you get connectivity back on your iPhone (or any iOS device).
While WhatsApp does not intend to introduce any third- party ads, it is looking at ways to monetise the platform and working with businesses could be a step in that direction.
WhatsApp remains free for consumers.
"... we are definitely in building the product phase. So, what you will see over the year is different tests, both for small and large businesses, and figuring out what s a good experience for these businesses on WhatsApp," WhatsApp spokesperson Matt Steinfeld said.
He further said: "India is going to play a crucial role in that."
India is the biggest market for WhatsApp. Of its over one billion users, about 200 million are here. In India, it competes with the likes of Hike and SnapChat.
Facebook, on its part, has a strong focus on bringing businesses to its platform as well. Over five million businesses globally actively advertise on Facebook.
WhatsApp has been working on introducing features to enhance engagement on the platform. It had recently launched a story feature to allow users to express their thoughts using pictures and animations.
WhatsApp is also attempting to foray into digital payment services, with India as a test bed. The company is looking to hire a digital transactions head for the country.
In February, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton had met IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to discuss ways in which WhatsApp could contribute to India s vision for digital commerce.