WhatsApp’s official birthday is on February 24. The company is celebrating it today by rolling out a new feature called, Status, that’s reminiscent of how it got its start. The new feature is similar to Snapchat and Instagram’s Stories features, WhatsApp status messages last 24 hours and then disappear, and you can add to them throughout the day. For instance, you could post eight status messages chronicling your day of sightseeing in a new place. Anyone who views your status will see all eight.
Given that both Snapchat and Instagram have seen their Stories features become phenomenally popular—and even Facebook is testing a version of the idea—it’s not a shocker to see WhatsApp offer its own take.
Unlike Snapchat, messages sent with WhatsApp, status messages are end-to-end encrypted. The app uses phone numbers rather than user names to connect people, so by default, your status messages are viewable to anyone whose number you have saved in your phone. But you can also set your privacy settings on a per-status basis, so one of those eight messages could just be viewable by just your best friends.
Get ready for data bundle hog
With the upcoming feature, get ready for a higher data bill something that will benefit the telcos and IPS more than anything else. For a vivid WhatsApp user who has over 100 friends sending their status stories with video content, would be a killer data hog for an average user.
When the feature rolls out, it will use an algorithm to determine which status messages you’re likely to want to open, so it can automatically download their content and make it ready to view as soon as you open a message.
WhatsApp currently has 1.2 billion monthly active users who send a over 50 billion messages a day. Last year, company had a mere 1 billion monthly active users which signifies a dramatic growth and by then, these users were sending 42 billion daily messages. All those users are also sending 3.3 billion photos, 760 million videos, and 80 million GIFs each day. Over the past year, the number of photos shared on the service has doubled and videos have tripled, a trend that encouraged the company to look at bringing these elements to status messages.
When will you get it?
Status launches today on Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone. The feature will initially be available in beta in France and the Netherlands, followed by the U.K. and Spain on the February 21, and Italy, Israel, and Saudi Arabia on February 22. A global rollout—including the Uganda—will follow those tests.