WhatsApp has some new features hitting both the production version of its app that most users have as well as the beta version of the app that some users may be making use of. The changes all appear to be focused on making the platform much more useful as a communications platform that can meet a variety of needs for users.
The main WhatsApp app gets the ability to add formatting to text messages. The options include bold, italics and strikethrough. Instead of using buttons or a formatting menu, WhatsApp opted to borrow from markdown language so users can just surround the text they want to format with the appropriate symbols. Using asterisks will yield bold text, underscores turn text italic, and putting tildes before and after a text string will result in strikethrough formatting. The markdown can be nested so users can combine formats like bold and italics.
Meanwhile, the latest beta version of WhatsApp brings a new quick reply option, solid wallpapers and some multiple selection tools. The new quick reply option appears to be modeled after the quick reply option being made available for Android N, but it will be available on other versions of the Android operating system via the WhatsApp notification card. If triggered, a popup window for entering a quick reply includes not only text, but emoji and voice input options.
Maybe not as significant, but users of the beta version are also finding they can now select solid colors for the backdrop for the app. WhatsApp already supported the use of images for backdrops, but users who wanted a solid color had to find or create their own graphic to load. Now WhatsApp comes with native support for several solid color backgrounds that can be selected with a couple swipes.
Finally, WhatsApp is changing some of the tools available and how they are accessed when users are working with multiple selections. The choices are now being provided by a direct list of options instead of a pop up overlay that WhatsApp used in the past. The actual list varies depending on whether a user is working with groups or individual users or even with chats.
If you have the WhatsApp app on your Android device, you can hit the Play Store link below to check for the updated version, which is number 2.12.535. If you are interested in joining the WhatsApp Beta testing program, we have provided the link for that as well. If you are already part of the beta program, the new update is version number 2.12.560.