WhatsApp is rolling out an update to ‘my status’, and will now let users share photos, video and GIFs as statuses that disappear after 24 hours. The new status updates will also be end-to-end encrypted like all other chats on WhatsApp. Note that the new updates doesn’t seem to have rolled out to all users yet.
The new feature seems similar to Instagram Stories, which allows users and businesses to post pictures and videos for 24 hours, after which they self-destruct, and Snapchat which lets users upload pictures and content that is short-lived and self-deleting. Both companies also advertise by inserting full-screen ads in friends statuses, which begs the questions if WhatsApp is also looking to eventually generate advertising revenues through this initiative, especially given the strong pushback it received for sharing user data with parent Facebook, an attempt at monetizing the product.
Interestingly, we had reported in December that WhatsApp rolled out features to share statuses selectively with certain contacts, ability to copy and forward/share user statuses and an ability to comment on other’s statuses, in its beta app. It’s not yet clear if all these features have carried over to the main release, or if the current release only modifies the kind of statuses that can be uploaded, rather than how it is shared or viewed.
WhatsApp, with 900 million monthly active users (MAUs) worldwide, is second only to Facebook’s Messenger in number of users. Facebook claims Messenger to have over 1 billion MAUs, while Hike claims to have 100 million users. Instagram has over 600 million MAUs, while Snapchat said it has 150 million daily active users in June last year.