New WhatsApp features seem to drop on a near weekly basis, with a steady flow of enhanced messaging options keeping the app fresh.
Now, however, the Facebook-owned messenger is flip-flopping on a recent move, rolling back one of its biggest updates in years – status visibility.
Although the service recently added Snapchat ‘stories’ inspired statuses, allowing users to record short, disposable video clips, its arrival coincided with the ousting of traditional text statuses.
Having been available since day one, these text status updates let users tag their profile with notifications such as ‘at work’ or ‘battery about to die’. With the arrival of the latest features, however, they were unceremoniously removed.
Following a backlash from users, WhatsApp is about to perform a U-turn and bring back the longstanding text option.
We heard from our users that people missed the ability to set a persistent text-only update in their profile, so we’ve integrated this feature into the ‘About’ section in profile settings,” an official WhatsApp reports said.
“Now, the update will appear next to profile names anytime you view contacts, such as when creating a new chat or looking at Group info.”
Despite the return of text-based status updates, the new Stories inspired features will remain, letting users pick between the old and the new.
“We’re continuing to build on the new Status feature that gives people fun and engaging ways to share photos, videos and GIFs with their friends and family throughout their day,” the company added.
So, when will you see the return of text statuses on your phone? Well, you’ve not got long left to wait.
Already available in the app’s beta release, WhatsApp has confirmed the user favorite will make a reappearance on the Android edition of the service next week, with the iPhone update to drop ‘soon’.
Last month WhatsApp took a shot at becoming more than just an instant messaging application by launching Snapchat-like ‘Status’ feature. The feature had not generated much excitement among the WhatsApp user base.
The problem started when an average consumer couldn’t find the conventional text status. WhatsApp had traded the text status for something more visual, pictures as status that lasted for 24 hours.
A spokesperson from WhatsApp stated, “we heard from our users that people missed the ability to set a persistent text-only update in their profile, so we’ve integrated this feature into the ‘About’ section in profile settings. Now, the update will appear next to profile names anytime you view contacts, such as when creating a new chat or looking at Group info.
However, according to a report by The Independent, the company has faced a huge backlash by the consumers leading to a roll-back of the status feature. The text-only status will now be back. But the new stories-like feature will also continue alongside the text status.
At the same time, we’re continuing to build on the new Status feature that gives people fun and engaging ways to share photos, videos and GIFs with their friends and family throughout their day.”
According to the report, the change has already been implemented in the beta version of the Android app and will come to the final version by next week. With iOS, the time isn’t mentioned specifically but it is likely get the update soon.
WhatsApp started out as a way for people to let their friends know what they are up to – at work or available, for example. Instant messaging, now the app’s main function, was added later.
But it’s also a sign that the Facebook-owned app is expanding the amount of features it has, just as Instagram, another Facebook subsidiary, has been doing over the years.
WhatsApp has more than 1 billion users. The company says its users spend more than 50 billion messages each day, including 3.3 billion photos, 760 million videos and 80 million GIFs – the animated images that make many popular internet memes.