You can finally send emoji reactions on WhatsAppVish Gainon May 9, 2022 at 08:00 Silicon RepublicSilicon Republic


WhatsApp has finally started rolling out a host of new features it promised users in April, including the long-anticipated emoji reactions to individual messages.

“We’re excited to share that emoji reactions are now available on the latest version of the app. Reactions are fun, fast, and they reduce overload in groups too,” the Meta-owned company announced in a blog last week. “We’ll continue improving them by adding an even broader range of expressions in the future.”

Other new features being rolled out now include sharing large files up to 2GB (up from 100MB) with end-to-end encryption and adding up to 512 members to a group chat at once – double the previous limit.

The features were first announced in April, when WhatsApp started working on a new Communities feature to improve group chats that the company said will mark the “next generation of private messaging”.

Communities is essentially a ‘group of groups’ that will help users organise all their group chats and find information quicker.

For example, school principals could create communities for parents to access information from the individual class groups present within those communities. Neighbourhoods could also have their own communities to discuss happenings on their streets.

An example of what reactions look like on the app. Image: WhatsApp

A lot of the new features seem to be catering to the needs of groups rather than individual chats. Emoji reactions, for instance, are helpful when participants in a chat want to react to an individual message without crowding the conversation thread with emojis.

Larger file sharing, too, is set to “be helpful for collaboration among small businesses and school groups”. And the larger group size limit is a response to high demand for the feature from users.

“With our vision for Communities on WhatsApp, we’re now building for organisations, businesses, and other close-knit groups to communicate securely and get things done on WhatsApp,” the company wrote in the blog last week.

However, while WhatsApp is keeping up with its competitors such as Telegram in terms of features tailored to groups, CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared in a Facebook post in April that “our messaging services are built around one-to-one text messaging – and that will stay the core of what we do”.

Zuckerberg, who recently told employees to ‘move fast’ and ‘live in the future’, added that Communities represents a natural evolution of WhatsApp from a way to connect with close friends and family to a place where users can stay in touch with “all of the different communities in your life” while still ensuring privacy and security.

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