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What’s Up with WhatsApp? New Features to Look out for

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If not the most cost-effective form of keeping in touch with friends, family and colleagues, WhatsApp has become a staple for every South African for messages and video communication. We can all agree that the lockdown has forced many social platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Zoom and MS Teams to up their game in a bid to get as many consumers to use their service offerings. WhatsApp has seen its fair share of improving its user-experience and adding benefits for individuals and businesses alike. Since WhatsApp is a staple service for many, if not all South Africans, we’ll be discussing the new changes and added benefits to make your WhatsApp experience a 5-star experience – even during level 3 lockdown.

 

WhatsApp Video Calls

While video calls had a limit of up to 4 participants – leaving users with the frustration of migrating to Google Duo, Skype or Zoom for mass video calls, WhatsApp ( which is owned by Facebook) saw the light and increased participant number to 8. This is excellent news for those with WhatsApp bundles looking for a cheaper video call method. WhatsApp offers users the option to create a group call via “WhatsApp groups” function, or users can do it the traditional way of “adding participants” until they are satisfied with their list. Safety has never been an issue with this App, as calls are “always end-to-end encrypted, meaning no one outside of the calls can access the information. Although the network can be a challenge for these video calls, for the everyday citizen who has lacked in personal communication due to the pandemic, WhatsApp video calls are an excellent way to go.

Multiple Device Use

Ah yes. The frustration of having to sign out of your WhatsApp web session from your personal laptop to use it on your work computer, only to have to repeat the process every day because as millennials, we live busy lives which require convenience and speed. WhatsApp has a “multiple device use” up its sleeves, but it is not available yet. This feature allows you to stay connected on multiple devices without being logged out of another. So soon (if rolled out) you could have one WhatsApp account logged in on more than one device, without being kicked out.

In-App browser

As mentioned before, WhatsApp has pushed web and App developers to develop added benefits to retain existing customers. This new feature will allow users to open links within the App, minimising the time spent on links opening in external tabs. Facebook has been championing this benefit, making it easier for its users to access links within the App. With WhatsApp business becoming a trend in the country, this too will become beneficial for companies who seek to lead potential customers to their websites.

WhatsApp Payments

This ground-breaking news had the world in awe. Currently being tested in Brazil, WhatsApp is working on introducing a digital payment upgrade for individuals and small businesses. Where the Apps biggest market exists in Brazil and India, which are more likely to get the feature before we do, WhatsApp alongside Facebook and Facebook messenger is seeking to make in-App payments a possibility to support small businesses during the pandemic. With Instagram introducing Instagram Shopping which allows companies to sell their products directly on the App, the Facebook franchise seems to be chasing after its competitors – even if they are in the same group. The App aims to offer their customers more reason to stay on their platforms and to draw in more leads.

 

While it may have been a shocker to discover that WhatsApp has a market outside of Africa, this would explain why the App has been hands-on-deck since the beginning of lockdown. Users enjoying features such as Dark Mode and a customisable Last Seen feature which allows you to choose who sees your App activity, the franchise is slowly winning the convenience and innovation battle, obviously with TikTok as heavy competition leading the pack.

 

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