Facebook is continuing its bid to bring a dash of Snapchat to all its apps. In a confirmation of rumors from the fall, WhatsApp has overhauled its status feature with an option to share photos and videos much like you would in Snapchat Stories. Much like what you see in Instagram, you can stitch together photos and videos to illustrate what you’re doing in a way that text alone wouldn’t capture. They’re encrypted like normal chats, WhatsApp says. The feature starts arriving today on Android, iOS and Windows phones.
The status revamp is more than a little arbitrary (do you really need elaborate visual updates in a messaging app?), but not surprising given Facebook’s recent strategy. The social network is visibly nervous about the possibility that Snapchat will scoop up users across all its services, particularly teens and twentysomethings who sometimes see Facebook as old and stuffy. And that’s a very rational fear when Snapchat has 158 million daily users — the service is big enough that you may join simply because that’s where all your friends are. WhatsApp may not take any users from Snapchat, but its status upgrade could be worthwhile if it prevents some users from ditching the platform.