WhatsApp is getting yet another new feature to help us keep in touch

(Image credit: DenPhotos / Shutterstock.com)

Having added features such as disappearing messages and view-once media, WhatsApp's gathering of new options seems never-ending. After years of enabling people to communicate with typed words, audio, video and GIFS, the popular chat app is working to give users yet another option.

Signs that WhatsApp developers are working to bring "reactions" to the app have been spotted. It's a move that not only expands users' communication options, but also helps to bring WhatsApp in line with a large number of other services that already include much the same feature.

It appears that reactions are currently still being worked on, but the ever-reliable WABetaInfo shares a screenshot that serves as great evidence that the feature is in the pipeline. A message depicted in the screenshot reads: "You received a reaction. Update your version of WhatsApp to see reactions".

From this message it is impossible to tell quite what reactions will look like, so we are forced to make educated guesses. In some rival services such as Slack, users are able to respond to messages using any emoji they would like. On other platforms, such as Skype or Facebook, users are limited to a small number of animated emoji to indicate their response.

Chain reaction

Coming from the Facebook stables, it is easy to imagine that WhatsApp's reactions will mirror those found on the social network. WABetaInfo says that more details should be available in the coming weeks, so we will know more before long.

While reactions is a feature that is likely to be well-received, it is hard to say quite when it will make an appearance in the app. Even beta testers are not able to use reactions right now, but the simple fact that signs of the development of reactions have been spotted is enough to get excitement building.

Analysis: the inevitable arrives

We'll just have to wait to see precisely how WhatsApp implements reactions, but they could prove to be a very valuable addition to the app.

In many regards, it would have been a little strange if the ability to respond to messages with reactions was not implemented in WhatsApp. The very same feature exists in so many other messaging apps and on so many social platforms that it was becoming noticeable by its absence -- and it’s good to see that WhatsApp is not afraid to unashamedly copy from its rivals in the name of giving user what they want.

While there will be many who deride reactions as being gimmicky, they can be genuinely useful. They serve as an excellent means of responding to a question or statement very quickly or for those times when you are simply not able to type out something lengthy. But reactions can also be used to great effect in group messages as a simple way to conduct straw polls where the reactions people leave indicate how they are voting on a subject.

Via WABetaInfo

Sofia Elizabella Wyciślik-Wilson
Freelance writer

Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 25 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fueled by technology, music and nature.

Having written for websites and magazines since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, she continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, she loves sharing new discoveries with others.

Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but her particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy. Her other loves include walking, music, her two Malamutes and, of course, her wife and daughter.

You can find her on Twitter and Mastodon.