WhatsApp for Android is getting a bunch of new features thanks to a new beta update. The update follows a busy couple of months for the app, which has rolled out various improvements to its platform. The most recent update saw the messaging app announce big changes to how it lets users handle in-app voice messages, now allowing users to pause and resume voice messages as they wish.
Below, we've picked through the finer details of the beta update and pulled out our three highlights to save you the rigmarole of finding them yourself. Here's what they are:
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1. New control bar
First spotted by the WhatsApp experts over at WABetaInfo (opens in new tab), the messaging app is onto something with its newly-designed control bar. Currently, when sharing a YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram link with a friend on WhatsApp, it's true that users get a picture-in-picture format option to view the link. But this new feature offers up a redesigned approach to this function and extends support to viewing other media types in the picture-in-picture format.
WhatsApp's redesigned look for viewing picture-in-picture media inside of chats arrives through the implementation of a new control bar. The bar provides much greater control over how users digest the content from within their in-app chats. Users can easily pause, resume and change the video from a wider variety of formats. Previously, the control bar was only available for videos shared from YouTube, but WhatsApp is clearly looking to expand this to other types of supported video to make the user experience more pleasant.
2. New status updates
WhatsApp is set to roll out a new status update feature on top of its recent myriad updates to the app's design. Adding to a growing legacy of tweaks to status updates, the new feature will allow users to "undo" status updates they posted by mistake. That's useful if you accidentally mistype something when inputting a status or need to go back and change something.
Through the "undo" feature, users can quickly delete a status update that may have been posted mistakenly. Though the existing WhatsApp setup already lets users delete a status update, the new undo status update option is a faster and far more convenient shortcut for doing so when speed is of the absolute essence.
3. Business status
Lastly, WhatsApp features tracker WABetaInfo is getting a new feature that will let users view status updates of business accounts by clicking on the profile picture on the 'business info' page. This is useful for keeping in touch with what certain local businesses are up to and provides real-time insights into their respective pages. It's something we covered in a previous story where WhatsApp acts as a sort of modern-day yellow-pages style directory.
After the user has tapped the profile picture of a business, they'll be presented with two options: "view profile photo" and "view status," with each providing helpful information about the company. The Facebook-owned chat app will retain the old method to view where the status updates are visible in the status tab, but these new locally-focused tweaks are all part of WhatsApp's plan to broaden its offering to business users on some of the best Android phones.
To trial the new features, you'll need to be signed up to the Google Play Beta Program (opens in new tab), where members can try WhatsApp 126.96.36.199. Everyone else will have to hold on for a stable rollout sometime in the near future.