WhatsApp has been doing a lot of work towards making the user experience more entertaining, so for example it added fun avatars (pictured above) at the end of last year and it's been making ongoing tweaks to the user interface and feature list. And it looks like we're about to get another fun new feature: animated emoji.
We've heard that this one is in development from multiple rumours, and the latest one adds fuel to the rumour machine because there's evidence to back it up. According to the beta watchers at WABetaInfo.com, WhatsApp is using the Lottie library in beta versions of its desktop app, and presumably in its phone apps too. Lottie is a library for Windows, iOS, Android and websites that handles animations, and that enables you to scale them up and down without them becoming all boxy and pixelated. Perfect for animated emoji.
When is WhatsApp getting animated emoji?
If the necessary libraries are already in the app code, then it shouldn't be too long before the animated emoji support arrives in the main app: Meta, which owns WhatsApp, is on a very aggressive update schedule to keep the app on par with or ahead of its messaging rivals.
WhatsApp is the most-used messaging app in the UK and in many other countries, with over 2 billion users worldwide in more than 180 countries, and Meta wants to keep it that way. That's why it's working on smarter sharing, and why announcements of genuinely useful new features seem to happen much more frequently for WhatsApp than they do for many rival messaging apps.
It's not all roses in the WhatsApp garden, though. If you visit the WhatsApp blog you'll see that the pinned post isn't about new features; it's about the UK government's plans to break the end-to-end encryption that WhatsApp and similar services provide. Meta says "we don’t think any company, government or person should have the power to read your personal messages and we’ll continue to defend encryption technology" and urges the politicians to reconsider.