What the ???
So I was in the middle of a group chat on Whatsapp the other day and one of my friends suddenly exclaimed, “WTF??? Facebook has bought Whatsapp!!”
My instant reaction was to close all my chats and delete my account. As if it isn’t enough that our private lives are already invaded by Facebook’s privacy policies and annoying ads. Who would want their intimate and personal chats on Whatsapp to be compromised as well?
Changes are already on the way…
The growing concern of people after hearing this news was satisfied by Jan Koum – founder and CEO of Whatsapp – with a statement saying, “We are dedicated to not make any changes in Whatsapp’s user experience.”
However, if you recall the Instagram case, you would definitely doubt the above statement. As, after the takeover, the privacy policies of Instagram that were in favor of its consumers were modified to give Facebook an increased access to user data and information.
Hence, despite the clarification given by Koum, I still have my doubts; doubts about whatsapp staying independent and unchanged. In addition, my doubts are proving to be true with the Facebook’s new prompts on Facebook Messenger for Windows saying, “The app is shutting down on March 3”, without giving much of an explanation.
Possible Changes to Whatsapp after Facebook Buyout:
Considering Facebook’s ambitions to outpace its competitors, we could end up seeing Whatsapp being merged with Facebook to become a perfect SmartPhone app for social media marketing. But till the time nothing concrete happens, I happen to have my own predictions of how Whatsapp’s life after Facebook buyout will be. According to me, we can expect the following six changes in Whatsapp by its new parent company:
Facebook has always had an inclination to buyout and modify potential competitors that thrived on protections of user data. For instance, after buying Instagram for a billion dollars, Facebook declared that it only wished to grow the service, similar to what it has said for Whatsapp. However soon after, Instagram users found out that their personal content on the photo-sharing app isn’t confidential anymore and started seeing ads.
I believe this is one of the main reasons why Facebook has splashed $19 billion to acquire Whatsapp considering its 450 million monthly user base. It would certainly give Facebook some bait to lure in more advertisers. Imagine your phone number and contacts are being shared to advertisers…how bad would that be?
2. Interface – Timeline Feature:
According to a recent surveys conducted, 1 out of 10 users are supportive of the Timeline feature meaning 90% disapprove of it. I myself was among the 90% who hated the timeline format of the social networking site. And I fear that after acquiring Whatsapp, Mark Zukerberg and Co will try and implement the same feature here as well.
A few of Whatsapp’s competitors like LINE already include Timeline feature and one can expect that Whatsapp would not be left behind by its parent company that seems to adore the Timeline feature.
3. Integration – Connect with Facebook:
After the deal between Facebook and Whatsapp was finalized, one might wonder how long it will take for Whatsapp to reach 1 billion users like its parent company. But one thing is for sure, Facebook would definitely integrate its social network with the messaging service.
We should be ready to see the “Connect with Facebook” feature soon in our Whatsapp application. The only fear would be if they made signing up with Facebook a mandatory feature. Although this might be a great way to cross-sell their social networking site to lure users using Whatsapp, but it might get irritating.
4. Multimedia – Video Chat:
This is one feature that Whatsapp doesn’t offer to its users till now… support for video calling. Also considering that several other competitors like LINE and VIBER of Whatsapp are already offering video calling services, we could see a similar change here as well.
5. Branding – Logo Redesign:
This might be a far-fetched speculation, but nonetheless you can expect anything from Facebook. What if one fine day Mark Zukerberg decides to apply the Facebook logo theme on its newest acquisition? The Whatsapp logo would end up losing its green color and convert into a blue speech bubble. I have also designed a mockup of how the redesigned logo would look it. Don’t know about you guys, but I find it terrible.
6. Special Feature – Like Button:
Last but not least, the inevitable ‘Like’ button is another likely addition that I think Whatsapp might get courtesy of its new owners. The “Thumbs Up” emoticon became a famous sign after it was embedded within the Facebook interface to be used on posts, images and videos. To show you exactly how it would look like on the Whatsapp interface, I have created an imitation.
Which of these features/changes do you think will be the first to be implemented in Whatsapp? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.