WhatsApp Beta Debuts Experimental "Status" Feature

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For the last year or so, Facebook has been putting in increased efforts into developing video-sharing features for its numerous apps and services. The social media giant believes video content is the future of the Internet and is consequently investing a lot of resources into being a part of that future. For the time being, these endeavors are mostly resulting in Facebook introducing a bunch of Snapchat-like features. In recent months, the company launched Instagram Stories and experimented with Messenger Day and "the new camera" within its leading social media app. All of those additions have one thing in common – they're designed around the concept of allowing people to quickly record pictures and videos, enhance them with various filters, effects, and live masks, and proceed to share them with their friends for a limited period of time.

Today, Facebook is continuing this video-focused strategy with WhatsApp, one of the most popular instant messaging (IM) apps on the planet which the Menlo Park-based firm acquired for $19 billion back in 2014. More specifically, the WhatsApp beta version 2.16.336 introduced a feature called Status which replaces the Contacts tab in the app's top navigation toolbar. As the name suggests, this addition allows users to share a photo or video status with their WhatsApp contacts. Once shared, the status disappears after a limited time interval. Not surprisingly, recorded content can be modified with text, scribbles, and emoji. In other words, Status isn't as robust or versatile as the Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger features mentioned above, but it's presumably getting there.

The feature is exclusively available in the latest beta version of WhatsApp and is hidden from users by default. To try it out, you're going to have to install the said beta variant of the app on a rooted Android smartphone, then proceed to search for "Status" in the WhatsApp Settings menu to enable the option. It's worth noting that this is still just an experimental feature and as such, it may never end up in an official WhatsApp build. Still, if Facebook's latest endeavors are any indication, it's only a matter of time before all WhatsApp users get to share Snaps-inspired statuses among themselves.

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