Last week WhatsApp rolled out a new update that could threaten Snapchat's share of the mobile app messaging market.
With the new update, users can share photos and videos from their status area, and like all WhatsApp text messages, content shared through status updates is protected by end-to-end encryption, which is a key distinction between WhatsApp and its competitors.
Photos, GIFs and videos can be overlaid with drawings, emojis and a caption, and now can be shared via status for 24 hours before disappearing. The change in the app is a fundamental one. WhatsApp previously had been exclusively for texting. Now its users will be able to scroll through rich content.
The status upgrade will not replace the way a user's status is displayed by name in the app. A tab with a plus sign will be added to the interface. Tapping the plus sign will take you to the WhatsApp camera, and tapping that will take you to the rich content posted by your friends and family.
This latest update of WhatsApp is not only another example of Facebook playing catchup with Snapchat, but also one that could probably bury Snapchat
With over a billion users on WhatsApp, compared to around 150 million on Snapchat, the Facebook owned messaging app could very well make Snapchat irrelevant by offering the same services.
Snapchat felt the sting of competition last August, when Facebook introduced Instagram Stories which mimicked Snapchat’s Stories. Since then, Snapchat's Stories feature usage has declined 20-30 percent, while Instagram Stories usage soared to 150 million daily users.
Originally, Facebook left WhatsApp pretty much alone as a text-only messaging service, and focused on adding new bells and whistles features to its own Facebook Messenger app. But by adding story functionality first to Instagram and now allowing the sharing of photos and videos on WhatsApp, the company looks determined to undermine Snapchat.