Today at the annual Connect conference, Meta announced several AI products and features that will soon be available on WhatsApp.
We are inspired by the possibilities of Generative AI, and how it can help people be more creative, productive, and entertained simply by sending a message. With so many conversations taking place on WhatsApp, we want to help people all over the world access this emerging technology.
To start, we’re introducing three new AI services powered by Meta that represent the first steps in what we expect to be a long path of experimentation for all of us. Starting today, some users can start testing the following in chats with friends and family:
AI stickers: You can now create a custom sticker that represents a thought or idea that’s just right for your chat.
AI chats: With Meta’s AIs, you can ask any question to find out more about topics or try and settle a debate in your group chat, including getting the perspective from dozens of characters Meta has created that respond in interesting ways.
Photorealistic Image Generation: By typing the prompt /imagine, AIs allow you to generate images to represent an idea, place, or person.
For those who are new to the early capabilities of Generative AI, we’ve put together some basics on how these systems work to protect your privacy. The most important thing to know is that your personal messages with friends and family are off limits. AIs can read what is sent to them, but your personal messages remain end-to-end encrypted, so no one else, including Meta, can see them.
In addition, we’re interested in helping businesses improve the quality and speed of services they provide to people through the AI of their choice. We’re working behind the scenes with a few partners now and we’ll have more to say about this in the months to come.
We’ll keep everyone updated in the app as we make these tools available to more people in more languages. We very much look forward to your feedback and hearing about what you create.
Today at our global Conversations event in Mumbai we’re introducing several new features that will help speed up how to get things done with businesses in a WhatsApp chat.
Faster Chat Experiences with Flows
We’re launching Flows so businesses can offer more experiences like quickly choosing your train seat, ordering a meal or booking an appointment – all without leaving your chat. With Flows, businesses will be able to provide rich menus and customizable forms that support different needs. We’ll make Flows available to businesses around the world using the WhatsApp Business Platform in the coming weeks.
Choose your Payments Service
We’re making it easier to complete a purchase directly in the chat. Starting today, people in India can add items to their cart and send a payment using the method of their choice from all supported UPI apps, debit and credit cards, and more. We’re excited to be working with partners Razorpay and PayU to make paying for something as simple as sending a message.
Meta Verified Businesses on WhatsApp
We’re making it possible for businesses to receive verification from Meta, which helps you know you’re chatting with the right business. To become Meta Verified, businesses demonstrate their authenticity to Meta and in return receive a verified badge, enhanced account support and impersonation protection. For businesses interested in signing up, Meta Verified will come with additional premium features including the ability to create a custom WhatsApp page that is easily discoverable via a web search, and multi-device support so multiple employees can respond to customers. We’ll begin testing Meta Verified soon with small businesses using the WhatsApp Business app before introducing it to businesses on the WhatsApp Business Platform in the future.
We’re excited to continue building great features for businesses to improve the customer service and other offerings they provide to people, and look forward to hearing how these new updates help establish connections, build relationships and get more done.
Today we’re excited to launch WhatsApp Channels to over 150 countries and deliver a private way to receive updates that matter to you. We’re welcoming thousands of organizations, sports teams, artists, and thought leaders that people can follow, right within WhatsApp.
If you’re new to Channels, our goal is to build the most private broadcast service available. Channels are separate from your chats, and who you choose to follow is not visible to other followers. We also protect the personal information of both admins and followers.
We’ve appreciated all the positive feedback from our initial start in ten countries. As we expand Channels globally, we’re introducing the following updates:
Enhanced Directory - you can now find channels to follow that are automatically filtered based on your country. You can also view channels that are new, most active, and popular based on number of followers.
Reactions - you can react using emojis to give feedback and see a count of total reactions. How you react will not be shown to followers.
Editing - soon, admins will be able to make changes to their Updates for up to 30 days, when we automatically delete them from our servers.
Forwarding - whenever you forward an Update to chats or groups it will include a link back to the channel so people can find out more.
This is just the beginning, and we’ll continue to add more features and expand Channels based on feedback we get from users. Over the coming months, we’ll also make it possible for anyone to create a channel.
If you’re looking to hear about more product updates directly from us, we’ve now also launched the official WhatsApp Channel to keep you up-to-date on what we’re building.
Earlier this year, we introduced a new WhatsApp app for Windows desktop, and we’re now bringing the same improved experience to Mac users.
With the new WhatsApp app for Mac, you can now make group calls from your Mac for the first time, connecting with up to 8 people on video calls and up to 32 people on audio calls. Now you can join a group call after it’s started, see your call history and choose to receive incoming call notifications even when the app is closed.
The app is redesigned to be familiar to Mac users, helping you get more done faster when using WhatsApp on a large screen. You can now share files by easily dragging and dropping into a chat, and can view more of your chat history.
As when using WhatsApp on any device, WhatsApp for Mac keeps your personal messages and calls private across devices with end-to-end encryption. Try the new app out for yourself, available to download now from WhatsApp.com and coming soon to the App Store.
Voice messages on WhatsApp changed the way people communicate by providing a quick and secure way to share your voice. We’re excited to build on this feature with new instant video messages. Now you can record and share short personal videos directly in the chat.
Video messages are a real-time way to respond to chats with whatever you want to say and show in 60 seconds. We think these will be a fun way to share moments with all the emotion that comes from video, whether it’s wishing someone a happy birthday, laughing at a joke, or bringing good news.
Sending a video message is as simple as sending a voice message. Just tap to switch to video mode, and hold to record the video. You can also swipe up to lock and record the video hands-free. Videos will play automatically on mute when opened in a chat, and tapping on the video will start the sound. Video messages are protected with end-to-end encryption to keep your messages secure.
Video messages have begun rolling out and will be available to everyone in the coming weeks.
Protecting the privacy of your messages remains the driving force behind what we’re building at WhatsApp. While End-to-end encryption is the foundation to ensure your calls and messages are secure, we continue to add more layers of privacy on top including the recently launched Chat Lock to protect sensitive chats behind a password, Disappearing Messages that vanish, screenshot blocking for View Once, and the ability to keep your online presence private.
Today, we’re excited to add two new updates to this growing list: Silence Unknown Callers and Privacy Checkup, which are available to users now.
Silence Unknown Callers is designed to give you more privacy and control of your incoming calls. It helps to automatically screen out spam, scams, and calls from unknown people for increased protection. These calls will not ring on your phone, but will be visible in your Call list, in case it turns out to be someone important.
To spread the word, we’re introducing Privacy Checkup to help make sure everyone knows about the options of protection on WhatsApp.
This step-by-step feature guides you through important privacy settings to help you choose the right level of protection, all in one place. Selecting ‘Start checkup’ in your Privacy settings will navigate you through multiple privacy layers that strengthen security of your messages, calls, and personal information.
Securing your private communication is important because we know people need a safe place to communicate. We’re taking this message around the world in new ways to help communicate why this is so important. Starting this week, we’re encouraging people to check in with one another securely via a private message so friends and loved ones know they have a safe space to open up.
Today we’re excited to introduce Channels: a simple, reliable, and private way to receive important updates from people and organizations, right within WhatsApp. We’re building Channels in a new tab called Updates - where you’ll find Status and channels you choose to follow - separate from your chats with family, friends, and communities.
Channels are a one-way broadcast tool for admins to send text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls. To help you select channels to follow, we’re building a searchable directory where you can find your hobbies, sports teams, updates from local officials, and more. You can also get to a channel from invite links sent in chats, e-mail, or posted online.
We’re aspiring to build the most private broadcast service available. This starts by protecting the personal information of both admins and followers. As a channel admin, your phone number and profile photo won’t be shown to followers. Likewise, following a channel won’t reveal your phone number to the admin or other followers. Who you decide to follow is your choice and it’s private.
Similar to how we build messaging, we don’t believe Channel updates should have to stick around forever. So we’ll only store channel history on our servers for up to 30 days and we’ll add ways to make updates disappear even faster from follower’s devices. Admins will also have the option to block screenshots and forwards from their channel.
Lastly, we’ll make it possible for admins to decide who can follow their channel and whether they want their channel to be discoverable in the directory or not. Given the aim of Channels is to reach a wide audience, channels are not end-to-end encrypted by default. We do think there are some cases where end-to-end encrypted channels to a limited audience might make sense, such as a non profit or health organization, and we’re exploring this as a future option as well.
To kick off Channels, we’re excited to work with leading global voices and select organizations in Colombia and Singapore, where Channels will first be available, to build, learn, and adapt the experience. We’ll bring Channels to more countries and the ability for anyone to create a channel over the coming months.
We also believe there is an opportunity to support admins with a way for them to build a business around their channel using our expanding payment services as well as the ability to promote certain channels in the directory to help increase awareness.
Naturally, the core of how people use WhatsApp will continue to be private messaging among friends, family, and communities, and that will always be our first priority. Building channels is a big step our users have asked us to take for years. We think the time is finally right to introduce a simple, reliable, and private broadcast tool and we hope you enjoy using it in the months and years to come.
For the moments when you make a mistake, or simply change your mind, you can now edit your sent messages.
From correcting a simple misspelling to adding extra context to a message, we’re excited to bring you more control over your chats. All you need to do is long-press on a sent message and choose ‘Edit’ from the menu for up to fifteen minutes after.
Edited messages will display ‘edited’ alongside them, so those you’re messaging are aware of the correction without showing edit history. As with all personal messages, media and calls, your messages and the edits you make are protected by end-to-end encryption.
This feature has started rolling out to users globally and will be available to everyone in the coming weeks.
Our passion is to find new ways to help keep your messages private and secure. Today, we’re excited to bring to you a new feature we’re calling Chat Lock, which lets you protect your most intimate conversations behind one more layer of security.
Locking a chat takes that thread out of the inbox and puts it behind its own folder that can only be accessed with your device password or biometric, like a fingerprint. It also automatically hides the contents of that chat in notifications, too.
We think this feature will be great for people who have reason to share their phones from time to time with a family member or those moments where someone else is holding your phone at the exact moment an extra special chat arrives. You can lock a chat by tapping the name of a one-to-one or group and selecting the lock option. To reveal these chats, slowly pull down on your inbox and enter your phone password or biometric.
Over the next few months we’re going to be adding more options for Chat Lock, including locking for companion devices and creating a custom password for your chats so that you can use a unique password different from the one you use for your phone.
Tell your friends about Chat Lock, which is rolling out now.