Facebook acquired WhatsApp a little over a year ago, yet nobody seems to have noticed them actually doing anything with it. However, we have finally been given a glimpse on how the two platforms are likely to integrate, and the changes we can expect in WhatsApp. Some months ago, it was revealed that voice calls would be integrated into the app, and now we are learning of possible other developments.
The WhatsApp calling feature is finally here for everyone: and we really mean everyone this time. The most eagerly-anticipated Android feature we’ve seen in a long time is now rolling out everywhere – without any WhatsApp call ”invitation” required. This is the moment when you finally, honestly, really get WhatsApp voice calls on your phone.
Details have been leaked that suggest Facebook is really starting to incorporate WhatsApp into their platform. A new feature is likely to be added soon in the Facebook Android app, which will be version 188.8.131.52.13 and this update will start to integrate WhatsApp itself. Basically, there will be a new “send” button on the Facebook app that shows the WhatsApp icon. It will be a new type of status action on the right side of the screen. It is likely that, at first, it will only be available for some users, who will be taking it through a test run.
We know that Facebook and WhatsApp are doing a lot of work on making sure the individual capabilities of the apps work together well. Jan Koum, who is the co-founder and CEO of WhatsApp, promised its users that once the platform was acquired by Facebook, nothing much would change and the app would stay independent. And it seems that he stuck to his word, because no visible integration had been seen between the two. Indeed, what we kept seeing was that Facebook continued to push Messenger, their own app platform. This was once again made clear through their recent F8 announcements as well.
Facebook is opening up Messenger as a platform for developers. That means developers will be able to add in new functionality to Messenger — things like Giphy for on-the-fly GIF searching, goofy voice changers for voice messages, a drawing pad for doodling things up for your friends, etc. Think of it like a mini-app store within Messenger.
However, considering the leaked details about further WhatsApp integration, it seems that they will now do both: promote Messenger, while integrating WhatsApp at the same time. This is likely to be just one of many steps that will be taken to connect the two separate platforms. In doing so, Facebook may just end up controlling all of the messaging market, essentially having its fingers in two separate pies.
Rumors, and these really are just rumors, suggest that both WhatsApp teams and Facebook teams are working together to find other ways to integrate the two apps. One suggestion is that it will soon be possible to send something from Messenger to WhatsApp and vice versa. If they manage to do this, and work on further integration, the partnership truly would take over the market, considering how many users they have between them.
WhatsApp, which last said it had 700 million monthly active users, and was acquired by Facebook for over $20 billion in February last year. Facebook Messenger now has 600 million monthly active users.
Between them, in other words, they have almost all the active users within the world of messaging. There simply isn’t anything else available on the market today that can offer the same. We will have to wait and see what Facebook really plans to do.