Today, WhatsApp announced that it’s adding a new feature, called Status, to its notorious app. The feature goes into beta in France and the Netherlands today, with a global rollout expected in the near future.
If you’ve used Snapchat or Instagram recently, Status is going to seem very familiar to you. It’s a ripoff of Snapchat’s My Story feature, which itself has been also ripped off by the Facebook-owned Instagram in recent months.
It’s a strategy that seems to be working for Facebook, since the company is now rolling out a near-identical feature to WhatsApp, another Facebook product. WhatsApp’s Status will be familiar if you’ve used Stories on Instagram or Snapchat: take a photo from within the app, scribble emoji or filters all over it, and then post it. Each Status will last for 24 hours, and you can add as many photos to your Status as you’d like. You can reply to other people’s statuses from within the post.
WhatsApp is framing the change (via a profile in FastCompany) as a return to the company’s roots. Before WhatsApp was a messaging platform, all it did was allow you to share a text status update with friends. The new Status feature is theoretically just an update of that, which lets you share your current experiences with all your friends. In reality, it seems to more be a move to push non-permanent photo sharing across as many Facebook apps as possible.