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True to co-founder Jan Koum’s words, WhatsApp Status has landed on Friday (24 February), delivering Snapchat Stories-style functionality to the messaging platform.
So what should you know then? Well, it’s an overhaul of the text-based status feature (“I’m busy”, “I’m at the gym” etc). The overhaul lets you post photos and videos as a general status update, much like Snapchat Stories.
These updates all expire after 24 hours, again, like Snapchat’s effort. It’s worth noting though that WhatsApp does keep track of how many people viewed your update — simply tap on the ellipsis next to “my status” to get a view-count for each one.
WhatsApp Status is now live, but will it be a wildly popular feature or will it go the way of the previous status function?
There is a fair amount of flexibility when it comes to privacy, with WhatsApp allowing you to share Status updates with all your contacts, all your contacts except specified ones or specific contacts only.
You can also reply to WhatsApp Status updates via a “reply” button on them. However, the implementation isn’t ideal as it merely quotes the update like vanilla WhatsApp (regardless of whether you reply with an image, emoji or text).
WhatsApp has tweaked its user-interface as a result of the new feature, delivering a camera tab on the far-left (allowing you to quickly send a photo/video to someone or as a Status) as well as a “Status” tab for viewing Status updates from friends.
Of course, you might not want to see Status updates from certain contacts, so the app does allow you to mute friends on the Status tab, essentially moving them to the bottom of the tab.
The app has also gone the full Material Design route by implementing a persistent, context-sensitive button in the bottom right. Tapping it while on the “chats” tab will let you start a new chat with one of your contacts, tapping it on the Status tab will let you make a new update and tapping it in the “calls” tab will allow you to initiate a WhatsApp Call.
Haven’t received WhatsApp Status yet? You’ll want to update your version of WhatsApp via the Google Play Store, Apple App Store or Microsoft Store.