Facebook’s WhatsApp Beta Edition Reveals New Features
WhatsApp is testing a host of new features for its chat app, beta versions of the software have revealed.
Among the updates are an option to continuously track the location of contacts, to delete or edit messages that are sent but unread, and the ability to reply to people’s statuses. The pre-releases also contain a feature that allows people to report problems and contact the company’s support team with the shake of a phone.
The new location tracker appears to function similarly to the “Find My Friends” app available on Apple iPhones since 2011, and automatically included on iPhones since iOS 9’s release in September 2015. In the interest of privacy, before sharing one’s whereabouts, the app requires a person’s permission.
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WhatsApp, which Facebook (FB) acquired three years ago for nearly $22 billion, already lets people share their location at a given time. The “live location tracking” update appears to extend this feature, granting people the option to share their position continuously for a set period of time: one minute, two minutes, five minutes, or indefinitely, depending on their preferences.
It’s unclear if people will be able to tweak the settings, granting only certain contacts or groups permission to view someone’s locus.
The experimental updates appear in the beta version 126.96.36.199 on Apple’s (AAPL) iOS and version 2.16.399 on Google’s (GOOG) Android. Tech companies often debut items in development in preview versions of their software, though the tweaks do not always make it into the final product.
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“We do not comment on future product plans,” said Anne Yeh, a WhatsApp spokesperson, in response to Fortune’s request for confirmation of the seemingly slated updates.
Last year, WhatsApp introduced end-to-end encryption, a security feature that helps prevent messages from being intercepted by spies, governments, or hackers. The app has also rolled out secure video calls in the fall.