One of the great things about the current era is that we’re all able to enjoy the fact that technology is evolving so quickly. It’s provided us all with access to some incredibly impressive and enjoyable products and services and has also generated massive profits for many businesses within the industry.

However, with such speedy evolution comes a lot of pressure for industry leaders to keep pace with the competition or risk losing their place at the table. Think back to some of the industry leaders of the past that no longer hold as much weight in certain sectors – for example, BlackBerry in the smartphone industry, Sega in the videogame consoles industry, and even the likes of Myspace in the social media world.

One example of a business that has enjoyed incredible success in the instant messaging world is WhatsApp. However, WhatsApp understands that it will need to continue to provide new features and value to its users or risk falling by the wayside as the competition inches ahead. Therefore, the instant messaging giant is seemingly trying to expand beyond its roots and looks set to push several new features to its app.

In this post, we’ll look at the story of WhatsApp so far, the business’s desire to expand beyond just instant messaging, the addition of its new feature – Channels – and what else we can expect from WhatsApp in 2024.

The Story of WhatsApp So Far

WhatsApp was launched back in 2009 and served a simple purpose – user-friendly instant messaging.

Since then, the business has become one of the biggest in the industry and is used by people all over the world. One of the things that appeals to most users is its end-to-end encryption, as well as its drive to provide user privacy, which has become increasingly difficult to find in the modern world of instant communication.

The Desire to Expand Beyond Instant Messaging

What was once seen as ground-breaking is quickly outdated in the world we now live in. You only need to look at social media platforms to see this is the case – Myspace gave way to the likes of Facebook and Twitter, with newer generations then preferring platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok. Readers of a certain age may even recall spending a lot of their free time chatting with friends on MSN Messenger, which seems incredibly outdated at this point.

Therefore, current popular platforms, like WhatsApp, need to look beyond what initially drove success and see what new features users would enjoy. This is the only way to remain relevant in the longer term, and that’s why WhatsApp has moved to release some new features.

Channels – An Example of Expansion

One example of WhatsApp’s attempt to expand its horizons is its newest feature – Channels.

What Does It Do?

When people think about how WhatsApp traditionally worked, they would likely picture one-to-one conversations or perhaps a group conversation filled with family members or friends.

Channels change this focus dramatically because users can now broadcast content about all types of things, and can send messages, videos, photographs, and other media formats to lots of different people.

How Do You Use It?

Channels are a simple concept. Users can search for channels based on their interests and can then join/subscribe to them and receive notifications and updates as and when they are available. 

For example, a travel photographer could create a channel, which users can then search for and join. Then, the photographer can send new images to the channel for subscribed users to immediately see and enjoy. Users can also then interact with the channel creator and other users.

Is It Popular?

Although Channels is a new feature, there are signs that people are positively reacting to it. It makes a lot of sense because this isn’t a ground-breaking feature and has proved popular before. For example, people have been using Telegram for similar purposes for years, and this has always been something that its users have enjoyed. Therefore, as the platform is already more popular, WhatsApp’s move into social media via the Channels feature is expected to translate well.

Other New WhatsApp Features

WhatsApp’s Channels feature certainly isn’t the only thing the business has been working on. Indeed, there are a host of other features currently available or planned for release that users are likely to appreciate. 

For example, users can make use of a feature called Chat Lock, which allows you to lock specific chats behind a secondary layer of security – you will need to enter your passcode or biometric to access. This is a wonderful feature because it provides security and privacy to more sensitive conversations – perhaps work-related details or even a discussion about a secret birthday present, for example.

Another WhatsApp feature that is likely to become incredibly popular is the edit function, allowing users to make changes to previously sent messages. Therefore, there’s no longer a need to be frustrated by typos or the pasting of incorrect links, and so on.

One final example here is the Companion Mode feature, which will allow a user to access the same account across multiple devices, which will make things much easier for those who enjoy communicating on WhatsApp on their smartphones and a secondary device, such as a work tablet. 

What Can We Expect from WhatsApp in 2024?

There are lots of things on the horizon for WhatsApp. In 2024, users should look out for the likes of View Once becoming an option on text messages, meaning you can send a message and it will be deleted as soon as the recipient has read it once.

Furthermore, 2024 could see the addition of planned improvements to file sharing on the platform, with 100 file simultaneous file transfers expected to be possible. Finally, let’s not forget about the automatic conversion of voice messages to text, which will be welcomed by many with hearing issues, as well as people with friends who love to send long voice notes.

Ultimately, WhatsApp is showing a strong desire to provide more value to its users, and that can only be seen as a good thing.

Richard is an experienced tech journalist and blogger who is passionate about new and emerging technologies. He provides insightful and engaging content for Connection Cafe and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest trends and developments.