Popular for its group chat function, messaging app WhatsApp has now added the ability to tag individual users so that they receive a notification even if they've muted the conversation.
For anyone who uses the app for fast-moving and important work conversations, this feature could prove to be incredibly useful for keeping things on track, directing tasks to specific people, and sending messages of relative urgency with the knowledge that a notification will be received.
On the other hand, for anyone who's part of a handful of conversations they'd rather never see a notification for, it will become incredibly difficult to avoid someone determined to attract your attention.
You can mute but you can't hide
Tagging someone on WhatsApp will work in a similar way to tagging someone on Facebook or Twitter – simply type the '@' symbol followed by their name. To make the process quicker, and to ensure you're tagging the right person, a contact list will pop up when you begin typing from which you can select the contact you want.
Right now, the notification you receive when tagged isn't actually any different from a standard message notification. But since WhatsApp seems to be trying to make group chats less unwieldy with this feature, there's a good chance it might consider developing a specific tagging notification in the future. Something similar to the old nudge feature on MSN messenger would be just great.
For the moment this new tagging feature is still in beta and will work on iOS and Android, but not desktop. If you'd like to try it out for yourself you can find the download here, or you can subscribe to WhatsApp's beta program in the Google Play store.