Testers of the latest Android beta for the WhatsApp mobile app discovered a hidden functionality within the code that could potentially mean the app’s incursion into the world of ‘stories,’ just like Snapchat and Instagram are currently doing.
News surfaced yesterday at an article in FirstPost and the Twitter account @WABetaInfo, which regularly updates on the beta version’s new features.
The discovery is reminiscent of a particular live video feature found recently on the beta version of Instagram by Russian users. The Facebook company currently owns both WhatsApp and Instagram.
The new hidden feature’s name is ‘Status’
Testers with the latest beta version first reported the apparition of a camera icon on the upper tab of options, right beside ‘Chats’ and ‘Calls.’ Along with this icon a new option called ‘Status’ now appears between the first two.
This function will allow users to record ‘Status’ updates that are different from the regular ones in the fact that they will contain photos and videos in chronological order, just like the apps mentioned above. There is a ‘My Story’ option to see previously recorded content.
Unlike Snapchat and Instagram however, there are currently no options to set the timing of photos and videos. The app initially asks the user who will be able to see their status, and then users can add a new one by using the top-right button in the ‘Status’ tab.
Users can edit their photos and videos, add emojis, crop the picture, put text on it, and use a pencil tool to doodle on top of it. @WABetaInfo tweeted that is also possible to forward text messages from the app into a user’s ‘Status,’ but not all kinds of writing, only the ones published via the app’s ‘Broadcast’ option.
How a friend’s ‘Status’ would look on WhatsApp
Photos published by @WaBetaInfo show a screen with a black background displaying what the ‘Status’ interface would look like when viewed. The publisher’s photo sits in a circular icon that looks exactly like the one found on Instagram’s stories, along with the date and time of the status.
The chronological order would also, apparently, show itself using the same horizontal white loading lines that appear at the top of every story in Instagram. There is an eye icon at the bottom for the user to check who has viewed their story.
The Twitter account posted an update ironically stating that this function seems to be the same as what Instagram offers, along with Snapchat, and more recently, Messenger Day.