Feature testing; Whatsapp working on ‘message reactions’

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned popular messaging app, is introducing a new feature known as “message reactions.” The feature is familiar among users of popular apps like Messenger, iMessage, Twitter and Instagram. 

Message reactions on Whatsapp could be a new way for the company to improve the communication experience on its platform. WhatsApp users can already use stickers, GIFs, and emojis to communicate their feelings in a chat thread. This feature, which is still in its early phases of development, is now being tested.

As a first step, WhatsApp is working on a message to appear when the user is using an outdated version that does not support receiving reactions. In this case, the user cannot see the reaction but WhatsApp will present a different message, asking for updation to see the reaction. It is now testing message reactions internally, according to a report by WhatsApp features tracker WABetaInfo. This implies that regular users or beta testers will be unable to access the feature at this moment.

Platforms including Twitter and iMessage allow users to express their emotions by tapping on a message received. Similarly, Facebook’s Instagram and Messenger apps also enable their consumers with message reactions. WhatsApp is, therefore, seemingly trying to imitate that experience by enabling reactions on its platform.

WhatsApp recently added a few new features, including disappearing photos and videos and the ability to join missed group calls. All WhatsApp users on Android and iOS can use these features. It has also begun testing chat history transfer from iOS to Android, as well as multi-device support which is two of the biggest WhatsApp features this year.

In 2018, WhatsApp brought stickers to its platform to let users express their emotions using different sticker packs. It enhanced that experience by bringing animated stickers last year. Alongside stickers, WhatsApp has GIFs and emojis on the platform to help users express emotions in chats.

Earlier this week, Whatsapp said the company is testing a feature that allows users to view their contacts’ status updates by tapping on the profile picture.

Related: Whatsapp to allow users view status updates by tapping on profile picture