There's a weird dichotomy among messaging apps in the industry. Some apps debut with the latest features, some crazy ideas and even a little innovation here and there, while at the same time the most popular messaging apps lack some basic functionality that people have come to take for granted. GIF functionality is one such feature that most consumers likely expect from their messaging clients at this point in time, but curiously enough the arguably most popular messaging app in the world, WhatsApp, never featured this functionality in any official capacity. While this is certainly an oddity, it seems that the team is bring official GIF support to the WhatsApp beta client on the Google Play Store.
It's easy enough to join the beta program, simply head on over to this link, select join and navigate back to the Google Play Store to receive the update. Updates usually go out within minutes of enrolling, but the message you'll receive after entering into beta participation warns that it could take significantly longer for the update to roll out, depending on what geographical region of the world you live. This new update makes adding GIFs as simple as can be by providing an entirely new tab in the add media dialog. Previously only photo and video tabs were available, but now all GIFs on your phone are filtered out and presented, by folder, in a neat and organized tab of their own.
You'll of course have to be in the beta to attach GIFs, but it appears that regular clients will be able to receive these all important animations thanks to the fact that this support has been built into the WhatsApp code for quite some time now, but not officially enabled until now. Many users have been utilizing GIF support for a while now because of this thanks to a couple quick hacks, but now users won't have to relegate themselves to hacking a perfectly viable app just to enable support for this. It's rather interesting to see WhatsApp still being updated at the rate it is given that Facebook purchased the service nearly two years ago now, and especially with the fact that Facebook already uses the service to pass information onto its servers. Either way happy WhatsApp users can now enjoy this feature once they receive the update!