WhatsApp dominates South Africa's instant chat landscape. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Johannesburg - Facebook-owned social messaging service WhatsApp is preparing to roll out big updates to its app, if the beta version of the service is anything to go by.
WhatsApp will soon remind users when they are still logged on WhatsApp Web on their desktop, show how many messages have been received in a smartphone's notification tab, share location information with friends without needing to send a locator pin, send GIF images, share stories like on Instagram and Snapchat, and even delete unwanted drunk texts before reaching recipients.
READ: WhatsApp wants to save you from drunken texts
Some of the new changes are already available in WhatsApp’s beta version, while location sharing, revoking messages and stories look set to be a part of a later update for the app.
Here are some of the changes to look forward to:
WhatsApp web reminder
Many users access the app through WhatsApp Web, offering a more convenient method of using the service while behind a computer.
The beta version of WhatsApp currently being tested shows that an update for the app will allow users to be reminded when they are still logged on to WhatsApp Web via a notification on the notification tab of their smartphone.
After receiving numerous messages from a single user, older versions of WhatsApp show only the last message from that user in the notifications tab.
However, in the new version of WhatsApp, the number of messages from a user is displayed in the notification tab along with the last message from that contact.
Graphics Interchange Format images or GIFs will soon be available to all WhatsApp users.
The series of moving images, which essentially form a picture video with no sounds, comes courtesy of Tenor – a GIF hosting website.
The GIFs offer users a range of animated reactions.
The service is testing a feature to delete messaging mistakenly sent to users in its beta versions.
It is still unclear as to how long users will be able to revoke texts after they have been sent or when the functionality will be rolled out.
Prior to the testing of the feature, if a user pressed and held on a specific message, the message could be deleted; however, this function only deleted the message from the device of the user who deleted the message and not from the device of the user on the other end.
It is believed that WhatsApp will soon introduce a feature similar to Stories on Instagram and Twitter, where users will be able to share short videos or a series of images that form a ‘story’.
It is also unclear when the feature will be released.
Live location tracking
WhatsApp is also testing a real-time location sharing feature, where users will be able to show friends where they are and choose the period of time the location feature is enabled for.
Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter: