A new update to the popular instant messaging service WhatsApp has been released which brings several new features including new privacy settings, pay for a friend’s WhatsApp subscription, a camera shortcut along with several other UI improvements.
The most interesting feature of the latest version 2.11.186 is the ability for users to pay for each other's WhatsApp subscriptions. WhatsApp is initially free for a year after which the service asks for $0.99 payment per year to continue the service. Android users will now be able to pay for their friends' subscriptions on Android as well as other mobile platforms including Blackberry, Windows Phone and iOS.
New privacy settings have also been introduced which allow users to change their “last seen” status and profile photo. Android users will finally be able to hide their ‘Last Seen’ timestamp from their contacts list, a feature that has been available for iOS users for some time now. The update also enables a camera shortcut for sending pictures faster and increase the user's message history.
The new WhatsApp update also brings a new homescreen widget for devices running Android 3.0 or higher. The widget shows all the unread messages as they are delivered to your WhatsApp inbox. The latest update also brings official support for Hindi language in the UI for devices running Android 4.1 or above.
WhatsApp which was recently acquired by Facebook in a 19 Billion deal, is adding new features that will set it apart from other messaging companies. The new update feels like a long-term move to get bring in more new users. The app is also planning to launch free voice calls for its users in the second quarter of 2014. At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum stated that they want to hit 1 billion users with the new feature by the year end.