Features WhatsApp Needs to Add or Fix Soon

WhatsApp has the potential to be even better

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WhatsApp is an incredibly popular instant messaging app and it has now over 1.3 billion users worldwide. Facebook saw its potential and bought the platform for $19 billion in 2014, which is still the company’s biggest acquisition to date.

WhatsApp was developed at a time when people used to communicate heavily via phone calls and sending SMS. We are now in an age where these can be done on WhatsApp and other messaging services. However, WhatsApp has been struggling to keep up with other messaging services that have been piling in features that make it now look like a dinosaur. I believe that if WhatsApp adds the following features, they will compete favourably in this intense industry while also attract users who are loyal to other messaging services.

Cloud

WhatsApp is already past due when it comes to being entirely cloud based. When WhatsApp was launched 8 years ago, it was at a time when a small segment of the population had smartphones and cloud storage was not as extensive as it is right now. In 2017, smartphones and cloud storage are the norm and you can rent cloud storage from the likes of Google, Microsoft or Amazon easily from the web.

The messaging app is still entirely based on your phone: Your chats and media are stored in your phone. You can backup your contacts and media to Google Drive, but I’d like WhatsApp to adopt what Telegram Messenger is doing.

If WhatsApp adopts Telegram Messenger’s system of being entirely based on the cloud, it will bring such benefits like:

  • Not losing your chat files when you lose your phone or format since everything is based on the cloud.
  • An independent desktop app which does not need to be connected entirely to your phone.
  • Disappearing media like what we have on Telegram Messenger and Snapchat.

Groups

There are two main gripes with WhatsApp groups: Member addition and contact information being shared.

WhatsApp Groups are incredibly popular and there are over a billion groups on the messaging platform. However, you find that sometimes you are added to a random group that you’re not interested in. In addition, if you are added in a WhatsApp group with strangers, you tend to see the phone numbers of the other people, which means they probably see yours.

WhatsApp has to fix this mess in the groups by giving a notification where you can either opt in or opt out from being added to a group and hiding your contact information by adding an avatar instead (like how Telegram does it).

Channels

WhatsApp only allows you to have a group with a maximum of 256 members. In some cases, this is not enough when you want to talk to a larger audience and it would require WhatsApp to give their users channels so that people can share content with a larger audience. Telegram does this quite effectively and some dedicated Kenyan Channels have thousands of members and would be bigger if WhatsApp allowed people to create such communities.

In-App browser

We tend to share links to our friends and acquaintances via messaging apps and unlike other apps, WhatsApp does not have an in-app browser. In-app browsers prevent the need to fire up a dedicated browser app when you click a link and it can be a great addition to WhatsApp.

Secret Chat

WhatsApp says that their app is pretty secure but in some cases, you would want an entire secure chatting system. The company can borrow what Telegram does with Secret Chats.

In Telegram, messages in secret chats cannot be forwarded to other people and they have self-destruct timers that you set which delete the messages and media shared between the parties. If you take a screenshot, you will be notified and the entire chat is encrypted end-to-end.

WhatsApp should have that option to allow people that would want to communicate in a scenario where they don’t want to leave a trace of the conversation.

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  • http://kizito.akhilo.me/ Kay

    Awesome, Kiruti, just awesome.

    One more thing on groups …

    The ability to restrict the amount of users who can post messages.

    I’ve uninstalled the messenger from my device quite a number of times and it’s simply due to the fact that the amount of messages I receive from “group chats” that I’m involved in are mind numbing.

    The crazy thing is, I CANNOT exit the group simply because I need to be part of the group to receive information (think test dates, class announcements, assignments, e.t.c).

    What would be cool is this …

    Whatsapp Engineering should PLEASE include a feature whereby only select folks (class reps, T.A(s), you get the gist, right?) would be able to post new messages on the group. That way, fewer (but important) messages would start rolling in.

    I cannot count the amount of times I’ve missed vital information because I open up the messenger and meet 400 (sometimes over) new messages and get discouraged to thumb through them all. 🙁

    • Kiruti Itimu

      Oh yeah! I totally get that….Telegram has this feature where admins can have 𝗽𝗶𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗱 texts to convey information that can be missed from the deluge of texts

      • https://techviews.com.ng/ Kay

        Lawd!

        Zuck needs to acquire Telegram.

  • http://www.edutchz.com/ edutchz

    As much as you want WhatsApp to borrow features from Telegram, there is usually something that makes people opt for WhatsApp over Telegram and clearly the numbers don’t lie.

    For a start, Telegram is more complicated to use for the average person and personally (being a techy) I still opt for the simplicity of WhatsApp as it just works for me. Something I have come to learn about how users generally adapt to applications is that stick to core functionality and the userbase will grow, throw in a bit of everything and people start getting confused and daily use begins to drop.

    People need something that is streamlined with a rigid structure, make it too versatile and you lose out..if history serves you well you can recall of Myspace.com. It gave people too much control over their profiles, every profile looked different, different layouts, themes, etc..in short it was just one big mess..then came along Facebook which up to date everyone has the same standard and familiar news feed and profile layout and billions use it on a monthly basis.

    So in short, WhatsApp trying to match what Telegram has to offer might not be a good idea, Facebook for a fact can try that with Messenger instead.

    • http://www.techweez.com/ Martin Gicheru

      If you recall, WhatsApp growth shot up partly because it was a one of a kind messaging app that did things right. Nokia and other phone vendors also contributed massively to it’s growth by pre-installing it on new phones, and really marketing the hell out of it. Having WhatsApp was a selling point for mobile phones, still is for entry level smartphones.

      Now when you add to the part that users are now in, so it’s easy for new ones to go where others are. Telegram leveraged the noise that was made about the acquisition by Facebook. Wasn’t loud enough as you know.

      If Telegram with all it’s awesomeness had the same leverage, the story would be different.

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  • http://babybluym.wordpress.com Babyblu Possum ©

    A few issues i really need whatsapp to add..

    1. We need two separate columns for individual texts and group chats.

    2. Which hey should have done from day one is we need an ‘UNREAD’ column…. This should be one of their main priorities.

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