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WhatsApp testing cross-app chats

2023-09-24 -

WhatsApp is testing what could be one of its biggest feature updates in several years �` the ability to message users on other apps. WABetaInfo reports that a “Third-party chats” section has appeared in the WhatsApp beta for Android update. This feature will presumably allow WhatsApp users to chat with users on other messaging apps �` like Signal, Telegram, and Viber. However, because it is not yet functional �` with no option to start a chat with users on other apps �` the precise technicalities behind how it will function and which third-party apps will be supported are currently unknown. The capability is supposedly being integrated into WhatsApp so that its parent company Meta Platforms can comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). Due to its large user base in the region, the European Commission recently declared that WhatsApp was regarded as a “gatekeeper” service under the DMA. That means it is required to make its software interoperable with third-party messaging apps by March 2024. The DMA’s intent is to prevent gatekeepers like WhatsApp from imposing “unfair” conditions and ensuring the openness of important digital services. It is demanding similar steps from companies like Apple and Microsoft, which dominate other areas of tech. With WhatsApp supporting third-party app chats, it will be easier for users to choose alternatives while still being able to message their friends, family, and colleagues who choose to stay on WhatsApp. According to WABetaInfo, the interoperability will have to preserve end-to-end encryption �` a standard feature on WhatsApp but not always the default on other messaging apps. End-to-end encryption helps ensure that a message can only be read by the intended recipient, and makes it difficult for malicious actors to intercept communication.