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Who knew that WhatsApp originally started out as a way to leave status messages, so others knew what you were up to? Well, it looks like that feature is finally receiving an overhaul this week.
“The original idea behind the project was to build an application that lets your friends and other contacts know what you’re up to [WhatsApp status updates – ed]. This was months before we added messaging,” said WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum in a blog post.
Koum explained that the team had always wanted to updating and “evolving” the feature. Who knew that this evolution might be rather similar to Snapchat?
“We are excited to announce that, coinciding with WhatsApp’s eighth birthday on February 24, we are reinventing the status feature. Starting today, we are rolling out an update to status, which allows you to share photos and videos with your friends and contacts on WhatsApp in an easy and secure way. Yes, even your status updates are end-to-end encrypted,” the co-founder continued.
WhatsApp Status aims to make these updates more multimedia-focused but will it be a Snapchat clone?
Now, we don’t know if these status updates are persistent or whether they disappear after viewing… We don’t know whether WhatsApp might just opt for a completely original take on the formula either — but it’s clear that Facebook and its various properties have been heavily inspired by Snapchat in recent months.
We’ll find out whether it’s something original or yet another Snapchat clone on Friday…
Update: It turns out that the feature has been in beta testing for a while now, with messages confirmed to expire after 24 hours in a recent video published to YouTube.
The video clip also confirms an earlier report that WhatsApp Status allows users to edit photos with emoji characters and other effects.