WhatsApp's new features organize your pics and make responding to messages easier

australian governent encryption backdoor whatsapp video call
WhatsApp, one of the world’s most popular messaging apps, is making it easier to reply to messages and keep track of photos and videos.

Starting Tuesday on iOS, WhatsApp will automatically group collections of four or more photos or videos together as an album and create a tile display within the messaging window. Tapping on the album brings up a scrollable, full-screen view.

A new reply shortcut and camera filters dovetail with the albums feature. With a simple swipe in the new WhatsApp, you can apply one of five filters — pop, black and white, cool, chrome, and film — to your photos, videos, and GIFs within the app’s camera. And you can quickly respond to messages by swiping right on them from within your WhatsApp inbox.

whatsapp photo albums quick replies image002

The update is available now from the iTunes App Store.

Albums and quick replies build on WhatsApp’s other improvements. In January, the messaging service beta-tested a queue that lets users send replies in the absence of an internet connection, and it recently rolled out a feature that allows companies to relay updates, offers, and information to users. In February, WhatsApp marked its eight-year anniversary with the launch of Status, a tab within the app for sharing status updates in the form of ephemeral photos, videos, and GIFs that expire after 24 hours.

It also doubled down on encryption. In April 2016, it switched on end-to-end encryption for all users, and in May added encryption to iCloud backups.

That landed the service in hot water with law enforcement. Last year, judges in Brazil ordered the nationwide shutdown of WhatsApp’s messaging services in response to the company’s refusal to fork over data “relevant to [an] ongoing investigation,” and subsequently froze $11.7 million in Facebook funds when WhatsApp refused to cooperate.

whatsapp photo albums quick replies image003

But it is part of a continued effort to build goodwill — and leverage the app’s audience. Since being acquired by Facebook in 2014, WhatsApp attracted more than 1 billion users who send 50 billion messages every day, including 3.3 billion photos, 760 million videos, and 80 million GIFs. But it failed to capitalize after eliminating its $1 subscription fee.

Messenger, Facebook’s other messaging platform, might provide a blueprint for WhatsApp’s monetization. Facebook has promoted the platform as a way to connect businesses with people for purposes beyond advertising, citing customer service as a primary feature. Retailers use the app to relay shipment tracking updates, for example, and banks use it to notify customers of fraudulent charges.

Mobile

Google Fi is getting support for the next-gen messaging standard, RCS Chat

Google has been pushing the development of the RCS Chat standard, and now it's finally bringing that new standard to its own carrier -- Google Fi. With Chat, customers will get features like read receipts, better group messaging, and more.
Social Media

Invite your friends — Facebook Events can now be shared to Stories

Facebook is testing a way to make plans with friends to attend an event -- through Stories. By sharing an event in Facebook Stories, users can message other friends interested in the event to make plans to attend together.
Emerging Tech

A.I. can generate pictures of a finished meal based on just a written recipe

Feeling hungry? Researchers from Tel-Aviv University in Israel have created an A.I. that's able to generate complete photos of meals, based only on reading the written recipes. Here's how.
Deals

B&H slashes prices on Apple Watches and iPad Pros during CES 2019

B&H Photo is discounting the Apple iPad Pro (2017) and the Apple Watch Nike+ Series 3 with GPS+Cellular for a limited time. If you've wanted one of the best tablets on the market or one of the most sought-after smartwatches, now is your…
Apple

Rumors say Apple's AirPower wireless charger may finally be in production

At its September event in 2018, Apple unveiled the AirPower, a new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.
Computing

Beam up the videos: AirPlay support is coming to VLC player

At CES 2019, the developers of VLC player announced they are adding support for Apple's Airplay feature, allowing consumers to beam video and other content from their iPhone and Android devices to an Apple TV. 
Mobile

Oppo could reveal a new smartphone with a 10x optical zoom

Cracking a solid zoom on smartphones has been a riddle many years in the solving. One company may have finally cracked it though: Oppo may be about to show off a phone with a 10x optical zoom.
Mobile

The LG G8 ThinQ may arrive at MWC 2019 with an on-screen speaker

LG is expected to release a successor to the LG G7 ThinQ, possibly called the LG G8 ThinQ, this year and rumors about it are already spreading. Here's everything we know about it so far.
Outdoors

Nike’s Adapt BB shoes let you tighten your laces with an iPhone

The new Nike Adapt BB shoe comes with smartphone connectivity that allows the user to tighten the laces using a smartphone while providing the ability to adjust tension throughout the game.
Wearables

How to switch TicHealth to Google Fit on the Mobvoi TicWatch C2 and TicWatch Pro

The Mobvoi TicWatch C2 and TicWatch Pro are both much-loved and feature-packed watches, and they offer excellent fitness tracking. Recently, Mobvoi has switched out Google Fit for TicHealth, but you can switch them back. Here's how.
Mobile

If you're looking for a good laugh, here are 70 questions to ask Siri

Siri has come a long way since her first appearance on the iPhone 4S in 2011. We know she can make appointments and give directions, did you know she can make you laugh too? If you want proof, here are lots of funny questions to ask Siri.
Mobile

Benchmark results show Snapdragon 855 destroys previous-generation chip

Almost exactly a year after the launch of the Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm took the wraps off of its next-generation mobile platform, the new Snapdragon 855. The new chip puts an emphasis on A.I. performance.
Mobile

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2019

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.
Mobile

On a budget? We found the best affordable smartphones you can buy

Here are the best cheap phones for anyone working with a tight budget, whether you're a fan of stock Android or marathon battery life. Find out what you can get for under $500 or far, far less as we round up the best budget smartphones.