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Introducing Voice Messages

We spend a lot of time at WhatsApp thinking how we can make keeping in touch easier, and we know there’s no substitute for hearing the sound of a friend or family member’s voice. So today we are introducing a new feature we are truly excited about: Voice Messages.

We are releasing Voice Messages on all of our platforms simultaneously. We worked very hard to make sure that iPhone and Android devices have perfectly working Voice Messages functionality, and we put extra effort into making sure that BlackBerry, Nokia and Windows Phone users can enjoy the same rich and powerful Voice Messaging experience.

To learn more about Voice Message and how it works, take a look at this video we made:

You can also read our FAQ entry if you want to learn more about Voice Messages for your specific phone:

http://www.whatsapp.com/faq/link/voice_messaging.php

We hope you will enjoy Voice Messages as much as we enjoyed building it.


one billion messages

 

Coinciding with our planet crossing the 7 billion population mark this week, last week WhatsApp crossed its own milestone for the first time by sending just over 1 billion messages in a single day.  Similar to the awe we feel that our planet will now hold over 7 billion people, all of us at WhatsApp are extremely humbled and excited about the future.

Just how much is 1 billion messages? That is 41,666,667 messages an hour, 694,444 messages a minute, and 11,574 messages a second.

1 billion messages a day is a significant milestone and also a small step closer towards our goal: providing a great mobile messaging system for a global market, regardless of your handset.

The loyalty and passion consumers have for our product leaves us feeling great gratitude, we really couldn’t do it without you.

 


Group chat

It took us slightly longer, but group chat is finally here.  If you have an iPhone, BlackBerry or Android phone, simply upgrade to version 2.6 of our software to enjoy group chat.  If you have a Nokia Symbian S60 phone, we are working on adding group chat to our Symbian client and hope to release it shortly.

Here are a few important notes on group chat:

  • currently group chat is limited to 5 people.  in the future we will increase this limit.
  • you can exit a group chat that you are in at any time.  simply delete the group conversation from the main Chats window to do that.
  • you can control group chat alerts and notifications separately from individual messages.

we are continuing to work on adding more cool group chat features and fixing bugs…  if you have any group chat feedback, let us know.

- WhatsApp Team


iPhone 2.5.12: the extra mile

A couple months ago Apple published “App Store Review Guidelines” document. At the bottom of this document it said:

Above all else, join us in trying to surprise and delight users. Show them their world in innovative ways, and let them interact with it like never before. In our experience, users really respond to polish, both in functionality and user interface. Go the extra mile. Give them more than they expect. And take them places where they have never been before. We are ready to help.

Well, our 2.5.12 version does just that: it goes that extra mile. You will not find any new earth-shattering features in this release but we went over every single existing feature in the application and tried to improve it even more. So here is what is coming in 2.5.12 after Apple approves it:

  • Message history search: every wanted to search your conversation history by keywords?  now you can.
  • Copy image from clipboard: you can now paste images into the text input box.
  • Scroll bounce inside of the text input box now works.  This is a very minor detail but it was important for us to get it right and this also fixes autocorrection suggestions for Asian languages.
  • Video editing: when you try to send a video to your contact which is too long, the application will now ask you to edit and trim the video instead of just blindly tell you video can’t be sent.
  • Video thumbnails: no more will you see the generic blue video thumbnail when sending or receiving videos.  We will now generate a thumbnail from the video instead of showing you the default blue thumbnail.
  • Application now dismisses Camera when moved into the background.  This is a minor detail but that is expected and correct behavior.
  • You can now Delete or Forward  individual messages without having to go into the full conversation Edit mode.  Simply tap and hold on the message bubble to get the Copy/Delete/Forward menu popup.
  • Have you ever gotten a video or audio attachment in your Email that you wanted to forward directly to a WhatsApp contact?  Now you can: simply tap and hold on the attached file in the Email app.
  • Got an iPhone 4?  We now generate high resolution thumbnails for pictures that you send to your friends.
  • This will probably affect only a very small percentage of you, but application now behaves correctly when you are running low on storage space on your iPhone and try to use Camera for video or picture.
  • Full localization updates for languages we support.
  • We fixed our contact index bar: it should now work properly with all alphabets.
  • Our audio notes recorder got two updates: retina display graphics and localization.
  • You can now cancel multimedia during upload or download by pressing on the (X) button in the transparent progress indicator bar.
  • We spent A LOT of time trying to improve our networking code.  You should see drastic improvements in that area (especially if you use Wi-Fi)
  • We added Dutch localization to this release.
  • You can now preview pictures before sending them. No more sending the wrong picture by mistake.
  • We made rotation from Landscape to Portrait (and from Portrait to Landscape) work much faster.

We worked hard on the 2.5.12 version to bring you our most polished release to date.  We hope you will enjoy it.


some notes on the 2.3 release

well, 2.3 is here and it is time to update everybody on what works and what doesn’t in the 2.3 release.

before we do that, we want to extend a huge THANK YOU to our users for coming to our rescue and helping us deal with the issue we mentioned in the previous blog post. we were overwhelmed by all of the support emails and tweets we got from you. that level of kindness and encouragement only made us want to deliver an even better release for our users. we put a lot of effort into 2.3 and hope it will have a favorable reception.

first, we want to talk about whats new in 2.3 and explain some features:

1. media transfer: any iPhone (2G, 3G, or 3GS) with any OS can send audio and pictures (either existing picture from your Camera Roll or by taking a picture). if you have an iPhone 3GS running iPhone OS 3.1 or higher, you can also send a video (either one from your Camera Roll or by recording one in real time). both parties need to be running version 2.3 in order to send and receive media messages.

by default, images and videos you receive will be saved to your iPhone Camera Roll. if you’d like, you can turn off automatic media saving by switching the “Save Incoming Media” button to Off (accessible in settings page).

2. message delivery receipts: in 2.3 you probably have noticed by now that you see a red letter attached to every message you send. those red letters are actually quite important because they tell you if your message was delivered properly or not. in a future version we will most likely replace these letters with graphics and have the software automatically re-try delivery if it fails, but for now you just get a visual indication of the state of your message. here is what each letter means:

  • u – unknown – message was sent to a chat partner who is currently online and is running an older version of the app for an iPhone (or a BlackBerry beta version)
  • S – Sent – message has successfully arrived at the Server (and push notification alert was generated for offline iPhone users)
  • D – Delivered – message was succesfully delivered to the Device of the chat partner.

3. there are a also a lot of minor improvements. for example: you can now disable message text preview (just like w/SMS) and you can also select a specific sound to play when push notifications arrive. we encourage you to explore the WhatsApp > Settings > Chat Settings screen and customize the application to your liking.

unfortunately, now would be a good time to mention what went wrong with the 2.3 release. in an attempt to optimize how our application connects to our service, it looks like people on the following mobile networks can no longer connect to WhatsApp over 3G/UMTS (while still able to connect via Wi-Fi):

  • Bouygues Telecom, France
  • SingTel, Singapore
  • M1, Singapore
  • Mobily, Saudi Arabia
  • Zian, Kuwait
  • Optus, Australia
  • Cellcom, Israel.
  • Etisalat, UAE
  • Orange, France
  • Orange, UK
  • PCCW, Hong Kong
  • T-Mobile, USA
  • China Telecom, China
  • Smartone-Vodafone, Hong Kong

the good news is that we have identified the problem and are already in the process of submitting version 2.4 which fixes the issue. we will also email Apple Review Team and ask them to expedite the review process since it is affecting many of our users. meanwhile, until 2.4 is available, you can continue to use WhatsApp 2.3 on Wi-Fi.