Review: WhatsApp is fast becoming a multipurpose app with new features

With over 5 billion downloads in the Google Play Store alone Whatsapp is without a doubt one of the most used social apps around the world.

The Meta proprietary platform has launched massive updates since early 2022, with each update bringing new features that expand or enhance the app’s services.

However, the recent updates not only build on the status of the app, but also turn it into a multipurpose platform. New WhatsApp features include:

Create a “share” for WhatsApp calls

This new feature (still in testing) allows people to create links to join a call – similar to Zoom and Google Meets. Similar to FaceTime, Zoom and Google Meet, you can choose whether the call should allow both video and audio. It automatically converts to a group call when more than two people join, meaning you can have conference calls on WhatsApp.

The company explained how this works, saying:

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  • “If you want to check if you have this feature enabled for your account, just check the “Calls” tab. If you see a new option called “Create call link: If you see this option, it means you can already start creating a call shareable link.”

Users who already have access to the new feature have been advised to only share links with people they trust in order to protect their devices. The feature is currently only available in beta. Meta says this will roll out “in the coming weeks.”

Edit messages after sending

WhatsApp is working to allow its users to edit messages after they’ve been sent within a time frame. Just like Twitter, WhatsApp is currently testing a new feature that aims to allow users to edit their sent messages within 15 minutes of sending them.

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The number of participants in the WhatsApp group rose to 1,024

Earlier this year, WhatsApp announced an increase in the number of group participants from 256 to 512. The latest update currently being tested is said to increase the group limit to 1,024.

Document sharing with subtitles

WhatsApp is also rolling out new updates that allow users to send their documents with subtitles, unlike before when users could only send photos, videos, and GIFs with subtitles. The new feature allows users to search for documents sent or received when searching through the chat option.

Block screenshots for read-only media

WhatsApp users should also expect the much-needed feature to improve security and improve user privacy. The new feature now prevents users from taking “view once” screenshots of all media photos and videos. The feature is currently available for some Android beta testers and will be rolling out to all users soon.

WhatsApp premium subscription

The meta-owned messenger app is also planning to launch a new premium subscription plan for WhatsApp business users. This allows business users to access the advanced paid features to reach more users and connect new devices. The premium subscription is optional and only available for selectable business accounts.

Features introduced in the app earlier this year include:

This new feature allows group admins to remove broken or problematic messages from all chats. In cases where a group member is asked for an offensive message and declines it, the admin now has the power to delete it for everyone.

  • Increased file share size

With this update, WhatsApp users are allowed to send files up to 2GB in size at once in the app, a massive jump from the previous limit of 100MB.

The new reaction emojis allow users to react with six different emojis on the platform: laughing face, red heart, surprised face, thumbs up, tearful face and hands together.

To use the feature, just long-press on a message and select one of the emojis that appear. Just like Instagram, users can change their reactions to another by long-pressing on the same messages and changing the emoji, or just clicking on the same to remove it.

WhatsApp also notes a few things about the reaction feature: users can only add one reaction per message, and it will disappear when the messages disappear. Also, users cannot hide the reactions or the number of reactions. Recipients can see the reaction before you remove it or if the removal was unsuccessful.

bottom line

Beyond chatting, WhatsApp is turning into a multipurpose app that will compete with Zoom and Google Meet for virtual meetings, which millions of people have embraced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Increasing the group limit to 1,024 allows more people to get together on the platform and this may bring many people who have moved their large groups to Telegram due to the limit to come back to WhatsApp.