WhatsApp for Android beta (version 126.96.36.199), has unveiled a new feature called “Third-party chats” in a recent update. This beta release follows closely on the heels of the European Commission’s confirmation that Meta, the owner of WhatsApp, falls under the category of a “gatekeeper” as defined by the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA).
According to this legislation, communication applications like WhatsApp are obligated to introduce a feature called “chat interoperability” or “messaging compatibility”, which will allow its users to exchange messages with users of other third-party messaging applications. This feature must be implemented and functional by March 2024.
At the recent stage of ‘Third-party-chats’, the screen remains non-functional and inaccessible to users. However, its name hints at an important development as it is the potential expansion of Meta’s encrypted messaging app to support cross-platform compatibility.
The DMA’s aim in this is to make sure big tech companies’ digital services remain open to everyone.
To do this, DMA’s rules emphasize that messaging apps must work together, so you can message your friends even if you use different apps. It also says that gatekeepers have to let you delete apps that come with your device and use other app stores if you want to. This way, it gives more freedom and choice to users.
Speaking on this, Meta and Microsoft are each developing their mobile app stores in reaction to the DMA. Meanwhile, the European Commission is investigating to determine if Apple’s iMessage and Microsoft’s Bing search engine, Edge browser, and advertising service comply with the new regulatory standards.
Google is actively engaged in efforts to enhance interoperability between its diverse messaging applications, including Google Chat, Google Meet, and Android Messages Also, Telegram had long offered a bot API that permitted developers to integrate Telegram with various platforms and services. This approach facilitated a certain level of interoperability, allowing diverse applications to interact with Telegram
WhatsApp stepping up among other messaging apps
WhatsApp’s venture into cross-platform messaging brings forth a plethora of advantages for users. First, it significantly enhances the overall user experience. By enabling seamless communication across different platforms, WhatsApp eliminates the frustrating communication barriers that often arise from device restrictions.
Convenience is another thing this update offers. Users can effortlessly switch between devices, be it smartphones, tablets, or desktop computers, without the fear of losing their chat history or missing important messages. This flexibility adds a layer of convenience to the messaging experience that many users appreciate.
For business users, cross-platform messaging offers enhanced productivity. It allows professionals to stay connected and productive across different devices. This means they can seamlessly continue their work-related conversations, even when transitioning between mobile and desktop environments.
The ability to back up and synchronize messages, media, and chats across platforms is another significant advantage. This ensures that important data is preserved and easily accessible, contributing to data security and convenience. it is particularly useful for managing both personal and professional communications with ease.
In the competitive landscape of messaging apps, adopting cross-platform functionality becomes a strategic step. WhatsApp is ensuring it remains competitive in the crowded messaging app market, attracting and retaining users with its versatility.
In addition, cross-platform messaging facilitates integration with other apps and services, offering users a more connected digital experience. This further enhances the utility and appeal of WhatsApp in users’ daily lives.
Other updates from WhatsApp in recent time
WhatsApp has been on a roll regarding product updates. It joined the video conferencing segment by beta-testing a screen-sharing ability for its video call feature. Despite being a sector dominated by headlights like Microsoft’s Teams and Google’s Meet, the Meta-owned application is unfazed.
A month ago, it announced a feature that allowed people to send short videos in chats. Four months ago, a handful of security-related features were introduced. Essentially, WhatsApp hasn’t slowed down in its efforts to grow through innovative updates.
The messaging app unveiled the WhatsApp Chat Lock feature that lets users hide chats they don’t want other people to have access to.
According to WhatsApp, users now have the option to enable the chat lock function on both Android and iPhone. The function allows them to secure their private conversations with a password. To access the locked chat, users will have to use device verification methods like phone passcode, Face ID, or fingerprint. Additionally, locked chats will be stored separately in a designated folder on the App.
Weeks ago, the messaging app noted that voice messages changed the way people communicate by providing a quick and secure way to share their voice. This is why it is now building on the functionality of instant video messages.
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