Communities makes WhatsApp more like Discord or Slack

WhatsApp has pushed out numerous tweaks and improvements in recent months, and there's a new one to know about: the Communities feature that works in a similar way to public servers on Discord or Slack, which can then be split up into smaller groups as needed.

As per the official blog post announcing the news, Communities will “enable people to bring together separate groups under one umbrella to better organize conversations”. The update is being rolled out now and will take a few weeks to reach everyone.

The idea is that the feature will make it easier for non-profit organizations, local clubs, schools and other groups to communicate within their groups – these communities might be used by school heads to share important announcements and updates, for example.

Even more new features

WhatsApp is introducing a bunch of other new features for group chats too, whether or not they're part of Communities: voice calls for up to 32 users, upgraded file sharing capacities (up to 2GB), and the ability for admins to delete messages that aren't appropriate for the group.

We're also going to get emoji reactions to messages – the same reactions you've probably become used to in every other chat platform out there, including Discord, Slack, and indeed Facebook Messenger.

It sounds as though at least some of these features will be released to beta users first before everyone gets access to them, so don't panic if you can't see them straight away. For more details on what's involved, see the official blog post.


Analysis: Meta wants all of your chats, all of the time

Meta chief Mark Zuckberg is no stranger to ripping off the best features of other apps – or indeed apps in their entirety. Take the stories feature of Snapchat, for example: once Zuckerberg realized how popular the format was, it was rushed into Instagram and Facebook as quickly as possible.

Instagram and Facebook have since tried their best to copy TikTok and piggyback on its success, though these efforts aren't getting much traction for the time being. Don't forget both Instagram and WhatsApp were bought and swallowed up by Facebook as they were starting to take away its market share, whereas Snapchat famously rebuffed Facebook's advances.

With that in mind, WhatsApp's introduction of features familiar from Discord and Slack shouldn't really come as any surprise. Zuckerberg himself says Communities is “an important evolution for WhatsApp and online communication overall”, spoken like someone who has used these other products that WhatsApp is competing with and see how intuitive they can be.

As Slack has been with us for eight years at this point, WhatsApp is actually quite slow off the mark, but the intention is clear – to make sure you spend as little time as possible in apps that aren't made by Meta. As with every other tech giant out there, Meta is keen to lock you into its products as tightly as possible.

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A big WhatsApp Desktop update comes to Windows 11, making the web version pointless

While 2021 brought the WhatsApp Desktop app to Windows 11, alongside a new look in January, there's new features about to appear in the beta version.

The new update of the beta version, that’s been available on the Microsoft Store for Windows 10 and Windows 11 since November, showcases message reactions and the ability to permanently archive chats.

These are two features that users had been long-requesting, and while they arrived in the iOS and Android versions, they were yet to arrive for Windows 11, until recently.

However, with video calling in the desktop app, and GIFs having just arrived after the web version has had the ability for the last year, it makes us wonder if there's any point in using WhatsApp in our web browsers anymore. 


Analysis: Time to move on from WhatsApp Web

Using WhatsApp on the web on your PC or Mac has been the norm for years now. Using a tab in your web browser to quickly reply to messages, instead of reaching for your phone, is very useful.

However, there's times when you can discover its limits, such as missing reactions and video calling.

This is where the desktop app has already superseded the web version on Windows and Mac. Calling your contacts through audio or video will be a big benefit to many, and while GIFS are already on the web version, they feel faster and display in a higher quality compared to how they show on the web browser.

It's at the point where we're already making sure that the app starts up alongside Steam, Chrome, and more when we switch on our PCs.

Reactions and the method to keep archived chats, archived, are only going to spur users to move away from the web version as well, and as far as we're concerned, any way to reduce the tabs in our web browser is a benefit regardless to make them more manageable.

Via WindowsLatest

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A big WhatsApp Desktop update comes to Windows 11, making the web version pointless

While 2021 brought the WhatsApp Desktop app to Windows 11, alongside a new look in January, there's new features about to appear in the beta version.

The new update of the beta version, that’s been available on the Microsoft Store for Windows 10 and Windows 11 since November, showcases message reactions and the ability to permanently archive chats.

These are two features that users had been long-requesting, and while they arrived in the iOS and Android versions, they were yet to arrive for Windows 11, until recently.

However, with video calling in the desktop app, and GIFs having just arrived after the web version has had the ability for the last year, it makes us wonder if there's any point in using WhatsApp in our web browsers anymore. 


Analysis: Time to move on from WhatsApp Web

Using WhatsApp on the web on your PC or Mac has been the norm for years now. Using a tab in your web browser to quickly reply to messages, instead of reaching for your phone, is very useful.

However, there's times when you can discover its limits, such as missing reactions and video calling.

This is where the desktop app has already superseded the web version on Windows and Mac. Calling your contacts through audio or video will be a big benefit to many, and while GIFS are already on the web version, they feel faster and display in a higher quality compared to how they show on the web browser.

It's at the point where we're already making sure that the app starts up alongside Steam, Chrome, and more when we switch on our PCs.

Reactions and the method to keep archived chats, archived, are only going to spur users to move away from the web version as well, and as far as we're concerned, any way to reduce the tabs in our web browser is a benefit regardless to make them more manageable.

Via WindowsLatest

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WhatsApp may soon bring polls to group chats

WhatsApp might soon introduce a new feature that will allow users to conduct polls within groups. The feature can be expected to roll out to the final version in the coming weeks. The new feature is currently being tested on iOS, but may also come to Android.

As reported by Android Police and WABetaInfo, the Meta owned messaging app may soon enable polls for groups. Polls have been present on other apps like Twitter, Telegram and even Facebook.

The report has indicated that the feature is currently being tested in WhatsApp’s 22.8.0.72 beta version showing that you can create a question followed by adding choices for responses. The number of choices is limited to 12 and they can be rearranged in any order, according to the report. The polls feature was already under development. However, it is only in the recent beta version we have got to see the work in progress.

WhatsApp polls

(Image credit: WABetaInfo)

It is unclear as of this time if these would be admin restricted or not. However, it may be possible that WhatsApp may create options within the group to control and restrict who can create these polls within the group. More details could emerge in the coming weeks while this feature nears completion.

WhatsApp’s Communities vision

While WhatsApp recently rolled out multi-device logins for Android and iOS users, the instant messaging app has been working on a dedicated Communities feature as well. This would allow members of multiple groups to be part of a single group as well. These can be created by group admins only and give them greater control over managing multiple groups too.

From a larger perspective, it looks like WhatsApp is looking to turn itself not just into an instant messaging app for friends, families and businesses. But instead, it's looking to create a similar experience to the one Discord offers.

WhatsApp could be aiming for a similar experience where members from various groups who have a common interest are able to meet members from groups that they aren’t a part of. Although it is interesting to see these new features, we would have to wait and see how they would work in real-world usage.

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Read More

WhatsApp may soon bring polls to group chats

WhatsApp might soon introduce a new feature that will allow users to conduct polls within groups. The feature can be expected to roll out to the final version in the coming weeks. The new feature is currently being tested on iOS, but may also come to Android.

As reported by Android Police and WABetaInfo, the Meta owned messaging app may soon enable polls for groups. Polls have been present on other apps like Twitter, Telegram and even Facebook.

The report has indicated that the feature is currently being tested in WhatsApp’s 22.8.0.72 beta version showing that you can create a question followed by adding choices for responses. The number of choices is limited to 12 and they can be rearranged in any order, according to the report. The polls feature was already under development. However, it is only in the recent beta version we have got to see the work in progress.

WhatsApp polls

(Image credit: WABetaInfo)

It is unclear as of this time if these would be admin restricted or not. However, it may be possible that WhatsApp may create options within the group to control and restrict who can create these polls within the group. More details could emerge in the coming weeks while this feature nears completion.

WhatsApp’s Communities vision

While WhatsApp recently rolled out multi-device logins for Android and iOS users, the instant messaging app has been working on a dedicated Communities feature as well. This would allow members of multiple groups to be part of a single group as well. These can be created by group admins only and give them greater control over managing multiple groups too.

From a larger perspective, it looks like WhatsApp is looking to turn itself not just into an instant messaging app for friends, families and businesses. But instead, it's looking to create a similar experience to the one Discord offers.

WhatsApp could be aiming for a similar experience where members from various groups who have a common interest are able to meet members from groups that they aren’t a part of. Although it is interesting to see these new features, we would have to wait and see how they would work in real-world usage.

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WhatsApp will soon help avoid the embarrassment of sending the wrong voice message

WhatsApp’s voice messaging feature will soon get some nifty updates to help compose, send, and listen to those convenient audio messages.

The Meta-owned app is the main mode of communication for over two billion people every month. It’s free, highly accessible, and end-to-end encrypted, making it an important app for users around the globe to connect with family and friends. These updates could enhance the already pretty good voice messaging feature of the app by helping avoid miscommunications in audio messages and helping listeners speed through long-winded conversations. 

Included features are:

WhatsApp didn’t provide a release date in the announcement or information about which platforms it will arrive on and in what order, but you can expect the features to roll out over the next few weeks. 

WhatsApp Voice Message Update

(Image credit: WhatsApp)

 Analysis: WhatsApp stays on top for a reason 

 The updates that Meta steadily brings to WhatsApp aren’t anything groundbreaking, and that’s by design. There’s a reason that the app continues to be the most popular global messaging app out there. 

Small features brought about in incremental updates maintain the app’s ease of use by not getting in the way of how the app’s two billion monthly active users already interact with it.

With these updates, it looks like the majority of the interface remains the same, and the new draft previews will help users avoid sending messages that weren’t ready yet. It’s the little things that count the most.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

WhatsApp will soon help avoid the embarrassment of sending the wrong voice message

WhatsApp’s voice messaging feature will soon get some nifty updates to help compose, send, and listen to those convenient audio messages.

The Meta-owned app is the main mode of communication for over two billion people every month. It’s free, highly accessible, and end-to-end encrypted, making it an important app for users around the globe to connect with family and friends. These updates could enhance the already pretty good voice messaging feature of the app by helping avoid miscommunications in audio messages and helping listeners speed through long-winded conversations. 

Included features are:

WhatsApp didn’t provide a release date in the announcement or information about which platforms it will arrive on and in what order, but you can expect the features to roll out over the next few weeks. 

WhatsApp Voice Message Update

(Image credit: WhatsApp)

 Analysis: WhatsApp stays on top for a reason 

 The updates that Meta steadily brings to WhatsApp aren’t anything groundbreaking, and that’s by design. There’s a reason that the app continues to be the most popular global messaging app out there. 

Small features brought about in incremental updates maintain the app’s ease of use by not getting in the way of how the app’s two billion monthly active users already interact with it.

With these updates, it looks like the majority of the interface remains the same, and the new draft previews will help users avoid sending messages that weren’t ready yet. It’s the little things that count the most.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

WhatsApp gets a new way to quiz your friends and plan nights out

Group chats in WhatsApp are used for all sort of things, from giving ways for distant members of the family to keep in touch, to helping people in real-world clubs and groups to contact each other easily. While the ability to chat, send photos, have video calls and so on are great, what has been lacking is the ability to create polls.

But this is set to change. If you've been looking for an easy way to see which restaurant you and your friends should go to, a way to vote on which design is best for your company logo, or countless other things, group chats in WhatsApp look like they are going to be gaining the long-missing polling option.

Spotted in the iOS version of the WhatsApp app by the ever-reliable WABetaInfo, we can see glimpses of a rudimentary poll creation interface that can be used to pose a question to member of a group chat. At this stage it's not clear quite how polls will look, or how customizable they will be, but we do know that they will be end-to-end encrypted.

Not for the first time, WhatsApp finds itself playing catch-up here. As welcome as the impending arrival of polls is, it is something that rival messaging apps have offered for quite some time. This does not, however, detract from the usefulness of the feature in any way, and it is something that it sure to prove popular and will be well-used whenever it does finally roll out.

Polling opinion

While at the moment, the poll option is only visible in the beta version of the WhatsApp app for iOS, it would be quite surprising if the very same option did not also make its way to Android. That said, WhatsApp is no stranger to giving iOS and Android users the same options at different times.

And speaking of staggered rollouts, it seems that Android users could be in line to gain access to a WhatApp feature that is already available to iOS users. In the redesigned drawing editor, iOS users have been able to use a blur tool to obscure private information in photos, making sensitive data unintelligible

WABetaInfo has spotted the same tool popping up in beta versions of the Android app, bringing the two platforms closer together in terms of features. For both this bur tool and the up-coming polling option, there is no hint about when the rollout is planned, so it is just a case of waiting patiently for WhatsApp to continue development and then flip the necessary switch.

Via WABetaInfo

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WhatsApp update is borrowing another feature from Messenger and Instagram

WhatsApp is testing a feature where you can react to a message with a heart emoji, similar to a feature in both Facebook Messenger and Instagram.

Meta owns all three of these messaging apps, yet there are users who don't have all of these apps installed on their devices. But there's a need for similar features across these apps, as long as they make sense, and reactions are a good example of this.

Reacting to messages is a useful way of replying to someone without typing out a sentence. It can inform the sender that you've seen the message, but you don't have time to reply to anything substantial as yet.

Currently in testing for the desktop app of WhatsApp in version 2.2208.1, you can try out the feature on Windows 11 and macOS.


Analysis: When features from other apps work well

WhatsApp Desktop reactions

(Image credit: WABetaInfo)

Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp all fall under the same umbrella as Meta, the parent company headed up by Mark Zuckerberg.

Every app either is a messaging app or has messaging features. But in some way, these are all used by its users, and some features work better on different platforms, from iOS to Windows.

Stories are a great example of this – they don't make sense for WhatsApp, yet it's on the app in the 'Status' tab. But for Instagram, it does make sense, and it works well for its users, as it's a great way of sharing photos and videos in short bursts.

For reactions, it's another feature where it helps to reply to a message quickly, without using your keyboard, and for WhatsApp it makes sense.

Taking features from other apps should only occur if they work towards the app's intended purpose, and with how a user interacts with the app in question.

While Stories didn't work for WhatsApp, reactions do, so it'll be interesting to see what other features from Messenger and Instagram carry across in the coming months.

Via WaBetaInfo

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