Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp is experimenting with a new Status feature that lets users share mood-setting pictures and videos overlaid withother custom elements such as emoji, with the content disappearing 24 hours after its shared so basically a copyofSnapchat Stories.
The testfeaturewas spotted on Friday by BGR Indiawhich says Status sharing isonly currently available to registered public beta testers of WhatsAppwho are usinga rooted Android or iOS device.
Weve reached out to WhatsApp with questions and will update this story with any response.
In the Android version of the beta the main WhatsApp message screen now has a tab called Status, sitting between Chats on the left and Calls on the right.And while its always been possible to set a status message in WhatsApp, which is visible when someone views your profile, the new Status tab does not replace that traditional status message; rather its a whole additional channel aimed atencouraging users to share ephemeral and primarilyvisual content with their friends.
As with Snapchat Stories, once a user has snapped a photo or recorded a video to share within this channelthey are offered a range of editing tools to augment the content such as by drawing ona colorful scribble or addingand positioningemoji. Status also lets usersadd a caption to further explain whatever theyre posting. Asendbutton shares the Status with the users WhatsApp contacts.
The beta app shares Status content for 24 hours, according to BGR, with no way for users to manually delete a Status after theyve shared it at this point, nor seta longer (or shorter)lifespan for the content. Users are able tospecify which of their contacts can receive Status updates either by selecting a handful manually or choosing all and excluding a few manually (or indeed selecting all contacts to spam everyone with allStatus content).
Snapchat launched its Stories ephemeral timelinethree years ago, and the sharing feature has provedhugely popular driving massivequantitiesof daily video views for Snapchat (it reported 10 billion daily video viewsas of this April). So its clear why Facebook is firing up its photocopiers.
And whileits taken Zuck & coa while to respond directly to their rivalsephemeral sharing format, theynow seem intenton rolling out a clone of thefeatureacross their social board with Facebook-owned Instagram launching a near carbon copy feature, Instagram Stories, this summer; andaStories clone called Messenger Dayalso being tested on Facebook Messenger this fall.
Thats a massive shiftfor a company that had, up to then, been firmly against having adverts on its platform. Which just leaves the question of how WhatsApp willintegrate adsinto itsplatform without annoying users. And so enterthe newStatus channel, looking like exactly the sort of conduit where businesses on the WhatsApp platformcould startpushing out marketing missives to users who areconnected with them.