WhatsApp has established itself as one of the biggest and widely used instant messaging apps around the globe, and it has strengthened its reputation by releasing interesting and exciting features this year. Creative emojis, individually muted conversations, the long-awaited voice calls — these are just some of the things that users were able to enjoy in 2015.
These new features have made a lot of people ecstatic but also left many wondering: what’s in store for 2016? What can users expect to see in the next twelve months? Only WhatsApp knows the answers to these questions, but here are some of the guesses of many industry experts:
Other instant messaging apps (like Viber and Snapchat) are offering video calls, and common sense dictates that WhatsApp will most likely want to catch up soon. It already has released its voice calling feature in March, so creating a video calling function is the next logical step. This can be a huge bonus to loyal WhatsApp fans who continue to use the app even when they could have enjoyed video calling services somewhere else.
It’s worth noting that rumors have been going around claiming that WhatsApp is dismissing the idea of integrating video calls because doing so can raise its plan rates from $1 a year to $1.50. However, it remains to be seen if users will or won’t mind paying an extra fifty cents to enjoy video calls and if WhatsApp would release the feature in the first place.
A wide range of security issues have been discovered in WhatsApp. Antivirus provider Kaspersky Labs discovered download links that can make it easier for hackers to distribute malware among unsuspecting WhatsApp users. Security company Check Point, meanwhile, found a vulnerability in the app that allowed hackers to install ransomware and force people to hand over money or else their private details would be released to the public.
The WhatsApp team are doing their best to keep these security issues at bay; in fact, they responded to Check Point’s discovery by taking some steps to protect its users from ransomware and other malware attacks. In 2016, WhatsApp users can expect more security measures and updates from the app.
WhatsApp’s original motto was “No ads! No games! No gimmicks!”, but it seems that these will change now that the app is owned by Facebook. In May, Facebook announced that they might be allowing businesses to contact WhatsApp users directly through the app, most likely in a bid to monetize its 900 million users. However, the social media giant seems to have changed its mind when it revealed in November that they’re focused on making messaging products that are fun, useful, and engaging and can drive user growth.
But here’s the thing: the possibility of integrating of advertising into WhatsApp isn’t really something that can go away. In the future, Facebook might decide to monetize WhatsApp’s millions of users and create a way to introduce advertising into the application. When this happens, WhatsApp users may see advertisements or even receive direct messages from brands when they use the app.
These are just some of the things that WhatsApp users can look forward to in 2016. There are many more new features and developments to expect as WhatsApp strives to stay competitive and maintain its status of being a leader in the instant messaging industry.