WhatsApp has been evolving and still is with some major changes expected this year. Some of the changes affect the key components of the app but others will not affect how we use the app in any way. We will notice some of these changes but there are some that will be added without us realizing.
Some adjustments are expected in the name but nothing serious that will leave the app unrecognizable. According to Blomberg, the messaging service will be adding “From Facebook” to its name to become, WhatsApp From Facebook. At a time when most apps are shortening their names, Facebook seems to be going back by making sure its name is part of WhatsApp’s name.
The name change comes at an interesting time when the founder of WhatsApp are no longer with the company. With the name change, some people will argue that the “from Facebook” part of the name misrepresents the app. Facebook on its part says, “We want to be clearer about the products and services that are part of Facebook.”
No matter what we think of the change in the name, it seems like it is happening and we can’t do much about that.
Fingerprint Unlock feature
One other feature we know is coming thanks to WABetainfo is the fingerprint unlock feature. If enabled fingerprint unlock will require one to authenticate using their fingerprint before opening WhatsApp app. However, for convenience purposes, you will still be able to answer your WhatsApp calls even when the app is locked. For messages, you can choose to preview them in the notifications bar or disable previews.
This feature is still in beta but should be rolling out to the publicly available version of the app very soon.
In 2020, you should start seeing ads on WhatsApp. The company confirmed this earlier this year but did not give out any details on what to expect. This is one feature that I expected to drive people crazy but the reaction after the news broke was not as bad as I had expected.
The ads will probably be on WhatsApp Stories as that is the most logical location to have them. Facebook spent a lot of money on WhatsApp, $19 billion to be exact, and it should make some of it back at some point and including ads seems to be the natural step to take.
Besides the ads, Facebook will also integrate a business catalog feature that will let users browse through products.
One feature that I hate about WhatsApp is that you can only log in to one device at any given time. This is Ok for most cases but there are times you may want to log in to a different device and not be logged out on your main smartphones. Telegram does this so well as you can be logged in on multiple devices without any issues. You do get a notification when you log in on a different device so if you are not the one who logged in, you can take appropriate action. There is still no information on when we will have this option.
Independent Desktop Version
If you use the web version of WhatsApp, then you know that you have to have your phone connected to the internet for it to work. Once your phone is disconnected, so is the web version. This is tied down to how the app works currently, the web version mirrors your phone and does not work independently.
WhatsApp hopes to change that in the near future with an independent desktop app. With this, you will be able to connect to WhatsApp on the web even when your phone is switched off.
When Facebook acquired WhatsApp, most people expected the two to be integrated from the get-go. This did not happen then but is going to happen very soon as Facebook is working on a feature that will let users share the WhatsApp Stories directly to Facebook.
This works the same way Instagram and Facebook integration works and will mean that you do not have to post the same content twice. Just post on one platform and choose to share on the other platforms. This feature will require manual authorization and will not post automatically to Facebook.
Using Voice Commands
This feature is already available on Android and allows users to read and reply to WhatsApp messages by using voice commands. To use this feature, you will have to rely on Google Assistant and say the words “read my messages”. If you use voice assistants on a regular basis, this feature will be perfect for you.