The advent of the smartphone and ubiquity of mobile data coverage has made mobile chat apps the new centres of online interaction. Globally, WhatsApp leads the pack, just ahead of Facebook Messenger. Most prominently used in Latin American countries, and in European nations like Germany and Spain, the messaging giant had seen immense competition from the likes of Line, WeChat and Viber in East Asia, and Snapchat and Skype in other regions.
Apart from server reliability, security and other network externalities, the mobile messaging giant has been vying to keep up to the latest trends despite its mammoth market share. Stickers and GIFs were recently implemented after a strong showing from competitors like LINE and Telegram demonstrated the desirability of these features. With its ubiquity comes lucrative opportunity: many businesses have WhatsApp at their core of marketing and promotional activity, especially within internet-based markets in mobile-dominated economies.
The new features include:
- Group description: a short line found under group info that enables information to be headlined on the chat, which would allow group guidelines, topics and general purpose to be easily accessed by all members and subscribers.
- Admin controls: accessible through group settings, administrators can access new restrictions on rights to edit group subject, icon and descriptions.
- Group catch-up: participants can quickly view all messages addressed to them while they were away by tapping the “@“ icon at the bottom right corner.
- Participant search: members can quickly find fellow participants’ contacts by searching in the group info page.
- Admins can remove other admins or relieve them from admin privileges, though group creators remain immune.
- Users are also now protected from being repeatedly re-added to groups, preventing a common ploy by WhatsApp marketing groups and ploys by scammers alike.