WhatsApp will enable cross-app messaging like Telegram and Signal App

WhatsApp will enable cross-app messaging like Telegram and Signal App

WhatsApp is preparing for a major shift that will allow its 2 billion users to communicate with people on other messaging platforms without the need to download multiple apps. This marks a significant departure from its previous stance as a closed ecosystem. 

In an interview with Wired, Dick Brouwer, an engineering director at WhatsApp, outlined the platform's plans for interoperability with other messaging apps.

Key points about WhatsApp's future plans for messaging interoperability include:

Two years in the making

WhatsApp has been working on interoperability for approximately two years. This initiative has gained momentum as Meta, WhatsApp's parent company, has been designated a 'gatekeeper' company under the EU's Digital Markets Act, requiring it to open up its messaging services within six months.

Initial focus on one-on-one messaging 

Initially, interoperability will enable WhatsApp users to exchange messages, images, videos, and files with users on other messaging platforms. However, it will initially focus on one-on-one messaging rather than group chats or calls. Users will need to opt-in to activate this feature.

Maintaining privacy standards 

WhatsApp will keep messages from other apps separate, ensuring they appear in a dedicated 'third-party chats' section rather than the main inbox. This separation aims to uphold WhatsApp's high privacy standards.

Technical complexity and security

Enabling cross-platform messaging poses technical challenges, particularly for encrypted apps like WhatsApp. There is a "real tension" in opening up access while preserving security. WhatsApp will publish technical details in March for third parties to integrate with its system, emphasizing the use of the Signal encryption protocol.

Collaboration with other companies

WhatsApp has been collaborating with other companies to facilitate interoperability. It will document its protocols to allow third-party clients to integrate directly, with options for proxies between apps and WhatsApp's servers for added flexibility.

EU demands 

Under EU rules, interoperability must launch within six months. However, it's unclear if this will be Europe-only initially. WhatsApp has not clarified if the feature will be available globally.

Potential impact on iMessage

Apple's iMessage may also need to offer interoperability under the EU's Digital Markets Act. However, Apple has not commented on its plans. Opening up iMessage could facilitate communication between iOS and Android users.

In summary, WhatsApp's planned changes represent a significant shift in messaging dynamics, potentially eliminating the need for multiple messaging apps. 

However, successful implementation depends on third parties integrating with WhatsApp, which may take time due to technical complexities. Additionally, addressing any privacy risks associated with lower security standards will be crucial.

Post a Comment