WhatsApp Stickers to WhatsApp Pay: Top 5 five features instant messaging app added in 2018
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WhatsApp Stickers to WhatsApp Pay: Top 5 five features instant messaging app added in 2018

WhatsApp updates in 2018: Let’s take a look at the top five features that made app more interesting and useful.

tech Updated: Dec 28, 2018 15:16 IST
Kul Bhushan
Kul Bhushan
Hindustan Times
WhatsApp Stickers,WhatsApp Pay,WhatsApp Business
WhatsApp ‘s recent update also brought the long-awaited picture-in-picture mode(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

WhatsApp continues to be the top instant messaging application in India. In fact, it’s the world’s largest instant messaging application with 1.5 billion monthly active users. In 2018, WhatsApp made some important changes to the app, ranging from limiting forwards to five chats to opening the app to businesses.

Despite the changes and new features, WhatsApp has remained a stable application for sending and receiving texts, images, and now stickers regardless the mobile platform, Android or iOS. As 2018 nears its end, let’s take a look at the top five important features Whatsapp rolled out.

WhatsApp Payment
WhatsApp kicked off 2018 with probably the biggest ever feature on the platform – WhatsApp Pay. The Facebook-owned messaging application launched an in-app payment interface which allows users to send and receive money – similar to Paytm. The payment platform, however, uses the government-backed Unified Payments Interface (UPI). Unfortunately, WhatsApp’s payment feature never came out of beta trials and is said to be limited to 1 million users. WhatsApp is still in talks with the Indian government over the approval of its new payment platform.

Anti-fake news tools: Forward limit to five, forward labels
In order to curb the spread of fake news and rumours through the platform, WhatsApp barred users from forwarding a message to more than five chats at once. The company also added a new “Forwarded” label to messages that have been forwarded instead of written by the sender. The objective this tool to help users easily determine whether a contact has actually written the message or it origins from somewhere else. Since then WhatsApp has been running TVC and radio campaigns to sensitise users about the fake news.

WhatsApp now indicates which messages you receive have been forwarded to you. (WhatsApp)

WhatsApp Stickers
Even though Stickers is a new feature on WhatsApp, it has become very popular among users. According to Google’s search report 2018, “How to send stickers on WhatsApp” was the most searched “How to” this year. While WhatsApp allows users to use the pre-loaded stickers, one can also download unique apps from Play Store under “WAStickers” search. There are also workarounds to convert existing photos in gallery into stickers. Since the roll-out, Google Play Store is flooded with third-party stickers including festival themes.

WhatsApp Group Voice, Video Calling
Video calling has become one of the hottest features of WhatsApp. According to the company, WhatsApp users spend over 2 billion minutes on calls per day. Almost two years after launching video calling, WhatsApp finally added group voice and video calling facility for its users this year.

WhatsApp allows you to add up to four participants for group calling (WhatsApp)

Inspired by group video calling feature in Google Hangouts and Skype, WhatsApp allows users to add up to four people while making video or voice calls. Just like the normal voice and video calls, group ones are also protected with end-to-end encryption.

WhatsApp Business
After acquiring WhatsApp for $14 billion in 2014, Facebook has been looking for ways to monetise the application. A dedicated WhatsApp Business launched in January this year. The objective of the app is to help businesses easily connect with users. The application features special tools such as quick replies that provide fast answers, custom greeting messages, away notification, and insights on the messages sent and received. In April this year, Mark Zuckerberg announced the app had over 3 million active users.

Facebook also began monetising the Business app by charging businesses for premium WhatsApp Business features, interlinking ads on Facebook to WhatsApp, and a new WhatsApp Business API. MakeMyTrip, Uber and Singapore Airlines are some of the early adopters of WhatsApp’s latest Business API.

First Published: Dec 28, 2018 14:34 IST