The latest WhatsApp for Android 18.104.22.168: beta version shows a new screen titled ‘Third-Party Chats,’ which may signify cross-platform messaging.
WhatsApp recently launched the Android beta update (version 22.214.171.124:), which shows a new screen that may indicate its inter-app chat compatibility. The screen is neither functional nor accessible for now but will become fully operational by the next update version. The encrypted messaging app may soon support seeing, replying, and sending messages to other applications through its interface.
This release comes soon after the EU declared WhatsApp meets the compliance requirements of ‘Gatekeeper’ under the EU Digital Markets Act. The new DMA This new compliance requires messaging apps to be compatible with other third-party applications by March 2024. WhatsApp has already started testing the feature, of which the recent update is an early sign.
The EU’s significant competition reform, also called the Digital Markets Act, is going to impose strict rules on large enterprises to offer interoperability. WhatsApp must comply with this new regulation as it is a big application with a vast user base that qualifies it as a Gatekeeper of the new norms. Being a Gatekeeper means that other applications will not only have to comply but also get a ready use case as to how they can implement the new set of rules in the coming future.
The latest test feature is unavailable for anyone, but the newest version showing the screen is available to download from the Google Playstore. WhatsApp is now set on a tight timeline window of 6 months to develop the feature and make it compliant with the new EU DMA. It is yet unclear whether the feature will expand beyond the European market. According to the compliance rules’ article 7, users can opt out of this feature if they don’t want to use the inter-app operability feature. Also, the end-to-end encryption will make compatibility with other third-party apps limited.
Meta, the parent company of WhatsApp, has worked on a similar feature much earlier in the history of messenger apps. Facebook Messenger used to display messages from other applications that users could reply to, including normal text messages. Users who had Hike Messenger could use similar features if they set them as the default app. However, the new WhatsApp version will not force users to switch the feature on. It will only come as an additional functionality that they can opt-in for if they want to. The timeline or extent of the new third-party inter-messaging feature is unclear.
With a mixture of literature, cinema, and photography, Manish is mostly traveling. When he is not, he is probably writing another tech news for you!
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