Several new features are currently in the works for Meta-owned messaging service WhatsApp, according to insider website WABetaInfo.
This will include a number of new features around group chats, profile information and notifications.
- Communities: Meta is introducing a new feature for group chats called ‘communities’ that will allow group admins to create a subset of dedicated chatrooms under an overarching chat. Admins can send messages in this chat, and they will be able to create sub-groups related to the community. An example provided is a university degree course with all its teaching classes included as groups. WhatsApp Communities will allow admins to organise multiple groups under a single, overarching channel. This would provide similar functionality to what’s currently available from one of WhatsApp’s most prominent rivals — Telegram.
- Profile changes: WhatsApp has added profile pictures for WhatsApp message notifications. The update, which is currently only available to beta users on iOS 15, means users will now see the profile photo of the person who sent them a message directly within the notification on their home screen.
- Notifications: WhatsApp will start showing additional information in notifications informing users that someone replied to or mentioned them in a message on a group chat.
- Search functionality: WhatsApp is adding a new advanced search filter for its business users – including an option to search by contacts, non-contacts and unread messages. Users can also combine different conditions to narrow down search results further.
In a December 2021 update, WhatsApp activated new security measures on its messaging platform to prevent unknown contacts from seeing a user’s last seen or online status.
The privacy setting changes are designed to protect WhatsApp users from certain apps available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store that allow people to “stalk” other users.
WhatsApp now doesn’t show the last seen and the online status if you have never chatted with another account, and since those third-party “stalking” apps don’t have an active chat with you, they cannot see when you were last online.