In order to keep its competitive edge intact, WhatsApp continues to add new features as and when they can in their kitty. And after checking the box for support of third-party animated sticker packs, albeit in select regions, it is now working on privacy-focused features.
In a fresh development, eagle-eyed Whatsapp feature tracker WABetaInfo has spotted something rather interesting brewing on the privacy side of things from the messenger app.
The independent news portal, which reports primarily on Whatsapp, has shared some screenshots which inform about how the messaging app is working on rolling out a new privacy-friendly feature – in the form of self-destructing media sharing.
The upcoming feature will let users share self-destructing images on the platform, which will disappear for both parties after a pre-defined time period.
As is evident from the screenshots, the feature will add a new toggle next to the text box appearing in the image preview window. On tapping this toggle, a toast stating: “This media will disappear, once you leave this chat.” will crop up. Finally, after this, users will be able to share the desired image(s), which will automatically cease to be visible as soon as the individual leaves the chat. The recipients of the self-destructing image(s) will also be alerted of its evanescence with a notification too, at the time when they open such an image.
Based on the leaked screenshots shared by WABetaInfo, it appears that users can click photos or pick images from their gallery (or) and simply share an image with another WhatsApp user by tapping a new button with a 1 icon that appears next to the “add a caption” text field. The images also to not have a preview and show a “Tap to view” message in the chat instead.
More information from WABetaInfo on the privacy-centric feature reveals that WhatsApp won’t be allowing users to export these self-destructing images (from the app or Camera Roll on iOS). That being said, the Facebook-owned vogue messenger has not included any safeguards to prevent recipients from taking a simple screenshot of such an image. Since such a loophole would defeat the purpose of one-time image sharing, a feature to remedy this can be expected soon, seeing as there is no way to block screenshots on the iOS especially.
The feature in the works bears a close resemblance to Signal’s “view once” media sharing setting which was launched early last year, allowing app users to send videos and images that vanish after they are opened. More such reminisces are echoed by Instagram Direct messages, which from 2018 onwards has allowed users to send media that can be viewed once or replayed again before they are deleted from the device. All Instagram Direct users need to do is switch on the self-destructing feature per image by tapping a small button on the side of the caption editor. Now, Whatsapp’s new feature will join the tribe, after the company rolling out Disappearing Messages features last year.
One cool utility of the feature though will be that it is made available in both group and private chats. The image previews in chats will also be evanesced until a recipient taps on the image to view it.
Whatsapp bid to keep itself relevant in the market dynamics by laying out a spree of features comes at a time when users around the world are up in arms about its upcoming privacy terms revision. Whether the just turned 12 popular messaging app intends this as a strict enforcing measure amidst user upheaval about privacy is another matter. There are other alternatives available in the market handing out the same type of feature. However, the messaging app’s global and generation synonymous reach, coupled with a more user trust engaging stance it has taken in recent days means it is a welcome addition.
Let the disappearing act continue we say, and stay tuned for more updates!