Are you still using text messaging to communicate with others? Many people still do and are unaware of the advancement of mobile apps such as Whatsapp which offer so many more exciting features than plain old texting, while saving you money on your monthly phone bill.
Related: What is Whatsapp?
Over the past decade, as mobile applications increased in popularity, tons of different messaging apps came out. While the majority were a fad, eventually disappearing as users switched back or over to other platforms, Whatsapp continued to develop and evolve and now has a consumer base of 1 BILLION active users from around the world. There has to be a reason why so many people are ditching text messaging and choosing Whatsapp as their go-to messaging application. Actually, there are a bunch of reasons why and we’ve rounded up all the cool Whatsapp features right here in this post.
Whatsapp Saves You Money
Who doesn’t like to save money on their phone bills? Would you choose to text a remote employee in Malaysia from your office in France and acquire charges on your phone bill or use any of the free methods available to us today? The same goes for keeping in touch with friends who live abroad. Would you rather text them for .20¢ – .50¢ per message, depending on your country, or open a free application and chat for as long as you want? In an ever increasing flattening world where social media, online shopping, and remote offices are part of our lives, we are connected to each other more than ever regardless of where we’re located. The ability to communicate with another human being through devices for free is the ultimate goal and Whatsapp is one pioneer of it (for now).
You Don’t Actually Need Your Phone With Whatsapp Web
While Whatsapp does need a phone number to send and receive messages, they also have a web app which is super convenient to use when you can’t be texting from your phone all day. All you need to do is go into the mobile app, tap on the 3 dots in the top right and select “Whatsapp Web”. Open up web.whatsapp.com in a new browser tab. Connect your account by using your phone’s camera to scan the barcode that shows on your computer and that’s it. You’ll have pretty much the same functionality as the mobile app on a much bigger screen and with faster typing. You can also download the application to your desktop and connect using the same method. You do stay logged in even when you close the web app, so if you’re on a public computer or you need to exit out, make sure you do so manually from either the browser or mobile app.
Whatsapp Features End-to-End Encryption
In April 2017, Whatsapp introduced end-to-end encryption. What that means is that every single text, picture, video or any other type of file sent over the platform is securely encrypted, or scrambled, so that the only person who can view and read the message is the recipient. Not even Whatsapp can intercept and read those messages. This is what the company claims, folks. And the company is actually owned by Facebook as of 2014, so users need to be aware and make their own informed decisions on whether to trust the company on its privacy and security measures. On the other hand, the regular texts sent through your phone are not encrypted, nor do your carriers claim them to be.
This feature is self-explanatory: You have the ability to create group chats using multiple users in your list. With a little creativity, this is a pretty cool feature. My daughter is in first grade and her teacher created a Whatsapp group for all the parents in the class, a common practice here where I’m located. The teacher sends us announcements and pictures of our kids. And parents can ask questions or relay information about things like if their child is going to be absent or leaving early that day. A bit different than the days when I was in first grade and my parents would send me to school with a handwritten note, but cool nonetheless. I’ve also heard of people starting and operating their Instagram pods from Whatsapp group chats. If you’ve never heard about Instagram pods, head on over to THIS POST to learn more about them. And since there are no texting costs or other costs associated with Whatsapp, you can add people from all over the world to your group chat. The only thing you need is their phone number.
Take pictures and videos from within the app
If you’re in the middle of a conversation on Whatsapp, you have the ability to open up the camera right from the chat window and send a photo or video directly to that contact using either the front or rear camera. No need to have an already existing photo or video from your gallery to share, although you can do that as well. Taking pictures and videos from within the app comes with its own set of cool features including the ability to zoom while recording, to trim the clip prior to sending, to record multiple clips, and to add stickers, emojis, text, or drawing to your images and videos. The only thing that’s missing is Snapchat-like filters, but I think we see that coming in the near future considering Facebook already implemented something similar in Messenger.
Good Quality Video Calling
A recently (but not too recent) added feature, this is what the app’s enormous user base has been waiting for ever since Apple came out with Facetime for the iPhone. Before Whatsapp came out with video calling, users without an iPhone generally turned to Skype if they wanted to video chat. Not anymore. When video calling was introduced, most of those who used Skype for personal use essentially had one less app to deal with as they were able to do away with Skype completely. It is important to note that Whatsapp calling and video calling is a VoIP service like Skype and Google Voice and thus, is not available in some countries, including U.A.E. and China due to their local regulations. Saudi Arabia has recently lifted its ban on Whatsapp and Skype voice calls.
Whatsapp Features Starred Messages
How many times have you scrolled up a chat window, through the endless amounts of sent and received messages spanning over days and weeks with a certain contact, looking for a particular sentence that they had messaged you? I know I have. Thankfully, Whatsapp lets you ‘star’ important messages so that they are saved in their own chat window, along with the names of the sender and receiver and the date the message was sent. This is an awesome feature if you remember when to use it. All you have to do is long-press on the particular message to highlight it. A toolbar will appear up top giving you the option to do several things such as deleting the message, forwarding it to another contact, copying it as a quote in your reply, and starring it. You can view all of your starred messages by going to the main screen, tapping on the 3 buttons on the top right, and selecting, “Starred messages”.
These Whatsapp features are pretty cool. The company has been way ahead of texting ever since it emerged on the scene in 2009, yet has only recently started gaining recognition after Facebook acquired the application in 2014. We’re interested in what new developments the parent company has for the application. As of now, we noticed that Facebook is working on integration. They just added this nifty new link which allows you to open up Whatsapp directly from your Facebook app settings.