First signs of WhatsApp third party chat support appear in latest beta

First signs of WhatsApp third party chat support appear in latest beta
WhatsApp, the popular messaging app, is gearing up to open its doors to other messaging platforms. This has been in the works for some time now, but thanks to some evidence found in the latest beta version of the app, we now have more information on how the feature will work and how far along it is in its progress.

The need for WhatsApp to add this functionality comes in direct response to the European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA), which aims to break down barriers between tech giants and increase competition in the digital space. WhatsApp's upcoming "chat interoperability" feature will allow users in the European Union to connect with contacts across different messaging apps, even if those contacts don't use WhatsApp themselves.

Wabetainfo discovered the feature, which is currently in development and not available to users, in WhatsApp Android beta version 2.24.5.18. As per the screenshot uncovered (shown below), a new section will be introduced to the app. There, users can choose to enable interoperability, granting them the power to seamlessly exchange messages beyond WhatsApp's ecosystem.

WhatsApp "Third-party chats" feature splash screen | Image credit: Wabetainfo

While end-to-end encryption will be maintained, different messaging apps may use varying encryption protocols, leading to a separate inbox for these external chats. Because of this, WhatsApp is advising users to exercise caution when using chat interoperability.

In addition to encryption compatibility concerns, cross-platform communication could potentially increase exposure to spam and scams. Every app has its own privacy policies, potentially handling your data differently than WhatsApp would.

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Regardless of these hurdles to overcome, this move by WhatsApp is a major win for consumers in the EU. It promotes greater choice and flexibility in how they connect with others online.

It is not yet known if these changes in the app will apply globally or only in the EU. However, while the feature is completely optional, it signifies a positive shift towards interconnectedness in the messaging app landscape.

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