Fri 23 October 2020:
The world’s most popular messaging service is pushing more aggressively into customer service features
WhatsApp has announced a number of changes that it is rolling out to its messaging app, including the ability to make purchases from directly within the application.
“Over the last few years, we’ve seen a real shift towards messaging apps for personal communication and increasingly people are relying on WhatsApp to get business done as well,” WhatsApp said in a blog post.
“The global pandemic has made clear that businesses need fast and efficient ways to service their customers and make sales.”
Always Mute Feature
WhatsApp now allows you to mute a chat forever with the new ‘Always’ option in chat settings. WhatsApp had been testing this feature in the beta version and now it is widely rolling out to the stable version. The developers took to Twitter and shared the development with an image of an iPhone with this feature that now sits alongside the 8 hours and 1 week options. This will allow users to mute individual chats or group chats forever.
WhatsApp, through its Twitter account, shared that the users can now mute their chats forever. The mute chat settings now show ‘8 hours’, ‘1 week’, and ‘Always’ options. The ‘Always’ option replaces the ‘1 year’ option that was originally part of the settings. You still get to choose whether you want WhatsApp to show notifications for that chat or not. This new feature is present on both iOS and Android devices, as well as on WhatsApp web.
To mute a chat forever, open the chat, tap on the menu option on the top right and select Mute notifications. You will see the three options there with the last one being ‘Always’. Select it and press Ok. You can also select Show notifications if you want to just see notifications without an alert. Once muted, you can will see the Unmute notifications option in the chat settings instead of the Mute notifications option.
Facebook hosting and business sales
WhatsApp has also expanded its partnerships with business solutions providers to deliver hosting services to WhatsApp Business customers via Facebook.
“We will also provide a new option for businesses to manage their WhatsApp messages via hosting services that Facebook plans to offer,” WhatsApp said.
“Providing this option will make it easier for small and medium-size businesses to get started, sell products, keep their inventory up to date, and quickly respond to messages they receive – wherever their employees are.”
WhatsApp added that it will charge business customers for some of the services it offers, which it said will help it to develop new features going forward and expand its offering to more people.
“We know that most people will continue to use WhatsApp simply to communicate with friends and family, which is why we will keep developing great new features and protect people’s private conversations,” the company said.
Desktop video and voice calls
According to WaBetaInfo, the website that tracks beta changes, WhatsApp is working on a feature that will let you make WhatsApp voice and video calls directly from the desktop client.
When you receive a call from WhatsApp Web, a window will be presented where you can accept or decline the incoming call. When you call someone, WhatsApp will show another type of window, it’s smaller and it includes the status of the call.
The support for Group Voice and Video calls will be included as well.
Joining missed calls
WhatsApp will also be working on a new feature that allows to quickly join calls in a certain situation.
If someone on your contact list invites you to join a group call and you aren’t able to join in that moment, you will be able to join the next time you open WhatsApp (provided the call hasn’t been closed.)
This feature is under development and it will be available in a future update.
WhatsApp said it will gradually roll out these new features over the months to come.