Facebook – owned messaging app WhatsApp is experimenting with yet another cloned feature called ‘Status’. Named confusingly after an existing WhatsApp feature, the newly introduced Status tab placed alongside the Chats and Calls tab lets users share customary pictures or videos overlaid with emoji’s or text caption. While it’s always been possible to set or update a status message in WhatsApp, which is visible when someone views your profile, the new Status tab does not replace that traditional status message, rather it adds a whole new dimension.
So what’s up with the new Status feature? Well, rolled out akin to Snapchat Stories, it aims at encouraging users to share ephemeral and primarily visual content with their friends. Users are able to specifically select which of their contacts (you can even spam all of your contacts) can receive the status updates. Once the user’s status page has been updated and the send button is pressed, the content will be available to the specified contacts for a period of 24 hours after which the content will be deleted. There is no option for the user to delete the content or to set a shorter (no longer either) timespan for a status after it has been shared. So, within each 24 hour timeframe, we can view our own content as well as the content of all contacts who have shared their status with us. Moreover, we can view who all have viewed our status. This test feature is currently available only to registered public beta testers of WhatsApp who are using a rooted Android or iOS device.
In recent times Facebook has been prioritizing video content, as part of a successful push to drive video ad revenue. The question is, how will WhatsApp integrate ads into its platform without annoying users? Anyways, fingers crossed and eagerly waiting for the official launch to try out this Snapchat inspired update from WhatsApp.