It isn’t the first time one app has borrowed another’s features, and it won’t be the last.
WhatsApp has debuted a new feature which allows status updates to include pictures, videos, and GIFs. They last just 24 hours, akin to Snapchat’s Stories feature (which has also been adapted by Instagram). Previously, status updates were text-based and stayed for as long as you left them.
This new version of status updates will be introduced across Europe this week and will likely hit the rest of the globe in the coming weeks.
As with WhatsApp’s text conversations, status updates will be encrypted by default. You can select which of your contacts can or can’t see your status updates. You can also send status updates to several contacts at once with WhatsApp’s broadcast feature, which sends the same message to several individual conversations.
On being asked whether WhatsApp consciously borrowed from Snap, WhatsApp product manager Randall Sarafa said, “I don’t think the format exists in just one app at this point. This is a model that others have contributed to and has been widely adopted, and we adopted it ourselves. It’s groundwork for the things we want people to be able to share.”
Unlike Snapchat, WhatsApp does not plan to introduce ads into the new status feature.
Having introduced a number of features in the past year, including a new camera feature that allows you to crop, add emoji and text, and draw on photos (again, like Snapchat does), and making it possible to send and share GIFs, the messaging app has seen media-sharing explode over the past year among its 1.2 billion users (up from a billion a year ago). Sarafa said that WhatsApp users send 3.3 billion photos per day, double what they did this time last year, and 760 million videos per day, triple last year’s amount.