After one year of acquiring mobile messaging service WhatsApp, Facebook has begun testing a new feature in its ‘Facebook for Android’ app that includes the first major integration of WhatsApp.
The social networking site has added a ‘Send’ button with the familiar WhatsApp icon as a part of the status actions buttons that appear under each status update.
The new button appears on the right side (for left-to-right languages) for some users in the most recent version of the Facebook for Android app, the Geek Time reported.
This move appears to be the first step towards connecting the two platforms in order to sustain growth and take control of the messaging market together.
According to reports, teams are already working on a deeper integration that will include the ability to send messages between Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
WhatsApp, which last said it had 700 million monthly active users, and was acquired by Facebook for over $20 billion in February last year. Facebook Messenger now has 600 million monthly active users.
The much leaked Web interface for WhatsApp is now live. As you may have imagined, this allows you to use your computer to send and receive WhatsApp messages. But, true to this app’s very obvious “mobile first” mantra, the Web client is acting simply as an extension of your phone.
Thus, all the messages still actually live on your handset, they’re just shown to you on the Web as well. So your phone needs to be connected to the Internet while you’re using WhatsApp Web on your computer, keep that in mind.
To access the new functionality, you need to have the absolute latest version of WhatsApp for your platform installed on your mobile device. Then you can head to this address from your computer, where you’ll see a QR code. WhatsApp says you should use Chrome. Other browsers may work, but to be 100% sure you’ll need to go with Google’s offering for now.
The next step involves pairing the WhatsApp account on your phone to that computer. For this, you simply scan the QR code from within WhatsApp on your handset. This will be possible through a new Menu option, labeled WhatsApp Web.
Instructions for all mobile platforms are provided on the WhatsApp Web page. If you don’t have that option in the app on your mobile device yet, then either you’re not running the latest version or the company hasn’t enabled the new feature for your account. This seems to be a staged rollout of sorts, so if you’re in this situation a bit of patience will help.
WhatsApp Web is going to be available to you if you use the app on Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, or Nokia’s old S60 OS. Unfortunately the glaring omission in that list is iOS. WhatsApp says it can’t enable the Web client for people using iOS “due to Apple platform limitations”.
Popular instant messaging client WhatsApp has gone through a major UI redesign on Android. While the former version was nothing more than just a slight revision of the iOS app, the latest update takes advantage of the new Holo UI guidelines for Android.
Right off the bat you’ll be able to see that the menu bar on top is now flat and in line with the new UI guidelines. Drop into a conversation and you will find new flat message bubbles and a redesigned text input field. The emoticons have also been moved down and placed next to the text field, which makes them easier to access on smartphones with large displays. The Settings menu has also been redesigned.
Unfortunately, the new version of the app is not yet available through the Play Store, and you will have to click on the link below to download the APK from WhatsApp website. You can safely update the app with the new one and maintain all your current app data. There is also no beta sign anywhere, so the app should be stable enough for everyday use (I haven’t faced any issues with it yet).
If you are on Android and use WhatsApp Messenger regularly, you should definitely give the new update a try.