WhatsApp adds new features to its pandemic resilience

WhatsApp adds new features to its pandemic resilience

In 2021, WhatsApp added a whole list of new features to make the platform more useful and easier to use for everyone. These included privacy features and features to deal with Covid- 19, an app for businesses, and also the very handy payments feature.

One of the first things WhatsApp geared up to handle was the second wave of Covid-19. The platform has partnered with the government and civic bodies in India to create chatbots and helplines for citizens. These were a reliable source for Covid related information and the platform itself was used as a site to coordinate and organise resources over the Pandemic.

Over 15 different state governments have created dedicated Covid helplines on WhatsApp this year and these joined the MyGov Corona Helpdesk which was launched in March 2020. More than 55 million people have reached out for information and services over the bot, and 12 million vaccine certificates have been downloaded from the MyGov chatbot on WhatsApp.

On the product front, WhatsApp added product updates to improve the user experience, both on the usability and safety fronts. On the safety front, WhatsApp has updated its ephemeral features that give users more control over the messages and media they send to others. These included: Disappearing Messages, View Once option for photos, and Default Disappearing Mode with multiple durations to choose from for messages.

A Touch ID and Face ID for iPhones, a fingerprint lock on the app for Android devices and encrypted backup are also added for added security.

It has also introduced new features like Desktop Calling support, cross-platform migration, joinable calls, and Archive 2.0. Little updates like sticker packs, stickers in statuses, and a media web editor were added to the platform's web version.

One of the most important features of WhatsApp in 2021 was the Payments on WhatsApp feature. The platform has recently announced the Digital Payments Utsav, which will be able to adopt 500 villages in Karnataka and Maharashtra and will empower individuals and businesses with access to digital payments.

In order to make WhatsApp Payments more inclusive and intuitive for Indian users, the platform added the Indian rupee symbol next to the chat composer. It also equipped the camera on the app to be able to scan QR codes.

With a goal to make sending money as easy as sending a message, WhatsApp also added relevant stickers and thematic backgrounds to the experience.

WhatsApp has a partnership with Uber to integrate it on the WhatsApp Business Platform. It makes it possible for people to book Uber rides via Uber's official WhatsApp chatbot.

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited BPCL, like Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, are building customised chatbots to engage better with customers and also function as a grievance redressal system. BPCL is not the only one, IOCL Indian Oil Corporation Ltd on WhatsApp's API platform has support for gas booking, booking status check, and also an option to check loyalty points.

More than 15 million small and micro businesses are using the WhatsApp Business App, which is currently used by more than 15 million small and micro businesses.

During the epidemic, WhatsApp became one of the most used and dependable ways for people to connect with family and friends, as well as to interact with businesses, said Abhijit Bose, Head of India, WhatsApp.

Small businesses were given tools through the free WhatsApp Business App to build digital storefronts to serve their customers better. Bose said that Payments on WhatsApp can be a key partner to NPCI and RBI in order to achieve the shared goal of scaling the adoption of UPI and enabling financial inclusion for the underserved.