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WhatsApp is updating message reactions and making a big change to videos calls

Patrick Devaney

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Yesterday we reported that WhatsApp was hard at work on a new editing tool for tweaking images you send via the app. Today, we have two updates report, one which could have interesting implications for video calls and another, which is an update to new and popular massage reactions feature. Let’s explore these updates further.

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The latest WhatsApp beta version for Android 2.22.15.5 has an enticing new feature that raises some interesting questions. The feature shows a WhatsApp video call in progress but with the user’s camera switched off. Instead of the user’s face, the feature instead shows an avatar. So, what does this mean?

WhatsApp is updating message reactions and making a big change to videos calls

Well, it seems that for a while now at least, WhatsApp has been working internally on its own version of the Memoji and Bitmoji features. Basically, these features allow you to make virtual avatars of yourself to show instead of actual images. In the case of Apple’s Memojis, once you have made your avatar you can then use it to create emojis to send to friends and family. What happens is, that the iPhone actually scans your face and the Memoji reacts accordingly, and you can then snap it and send it on to express emotion in a text chat.

Details are light on the ground right now, but the fact that the first time we are seeing this feature is in a video call raises an interesting question. Will the WhatsApp avatars move and react with your face, like Memojis do, when you are on a video call? It would be very cool to imagine having a video call with somebody while being completely represented the whole time by a customized and dynamic virtual avatar. We will have to wait and see on this one.

In other WhatsApp news, an update to WhatsApp’s new message reactions that we reported on a while back has started rolling out to beta users. They have started to report that now when they react to messages, as well as having the small pre-defined list of emoji reactions, they can also tap on a plus button, which will open up the complete library of emotions to react with. Very cool indeed.

The fact that this is just rolling out to beta users means that there will still be some time before regular users get to take advantage of this feature. However, it is good to see that WhatsApp has moved beyond the concept stage here and is able to push out the feature to its active community of passionate beta testers. It is great to see, and we are truly grateful both to WhatsApp for the work and the testers for providing the vital insights that help features get the full roll-out to all users.

We’re now six full months into 2022, halfway to 2023. Now is a great time to check out what our top 10 expected WhatsApp features for 2022 were and let us know how we did.

Image via: WABetaInfo (2)

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