WhatsApp is the latest Facebook-owned service to add a feature closely resembling Snapchat, in the form of a tool named Status.
The tool, tested for beta users in November, lets users share photos, videos and animated GIFs, all of which are encrypted and will disappear after 24 hours. The company said it is “reinventing the status feature” on its messaging app to coincide with its eighth birthday on 24 February.
Snapchat offered a simliar feature, Live Stories, since 2014. In August last year, Instagram came out with Stories, and currently the feature is also being tested for Facebook’s core app. The current difference is WhatsApp’s version features end-to-end encryption.
Users can add text, drawings and emoji’s to WhatsApp’s Status posts and send them to everyone on their contacts list, or to specific users.
Status could also open up advertising opportunities for WhatsApp. Full-screen ads can be placed inbetween status views, as is the case with Snapchat and Instagram.
WhatsApp has 1.2 billion monthly users, with users sending 60 billion messages per day, including 3.3 billion photos, 760 million videos and 80 million GIFs.
TechCrunch noted Snap’s global growth could be limited by any success achieved by WhatsApp’s Status. Snap would then be pushed to generate more revenue from existing users, hardware or professional content.
Snap’s net loss increased from $372.9 million in 2015 to $514.6 million in 2016, despite revenue growing from $58.7 million to $404 million.
WhatsApp’s Status also provides an opportunity to spread the slideshow format to parts of South America, Eastern Europe and the developing world, where Snapchat is not yet popular, TechCrunch added.