Whatsapp has been rather notorious when it comes to rolling out updates on Android. Not that they do not roll out updates timely or anything like that, but there is always a discrepancy when it comes to the version of Whatsapp that is available to download via the Google Play Store and the one that is available officially via the Whatsapp website. It is a well known fact that the new features are always rolled out first on the website, before it reached the Play Store. And therefore, if you are looking to find the latest features on Whatsapp at least for Android devices, you are always advised to download the APK from the website here and replace it with the current version.
Over a period of few days, Whatsapp does bring the version update to the Play Store but if you like to stay ahead of the game, you definitely must go ahead and download from the site. And why we are insisting on doing this even more is because the latest WhatsApp update on the website which is the version 2.12.342, brings a host load of new features. The five features that we think you would really find useful and perhaps did not know about are below:
Backup chats on Google Drive :
We saw WhatsApp bring this feature a month or so ago and they pulled it back. Now it is back and in the version .342 can be used. The way the whole thing works is very similar to the backup on iCloud that WhatsApp has for the iPhone. The moment you install the apk, it gives you the option of backing up your chat to your preferred Google Drive account. You also have an option of selecting the time period stipulated when the backup would be taken, ranging from daily, weekly to monthly. You can also tick or un-tick the option of backing up the videos shared on WhatsApp in Google Drive. This makes the process of migrating to a new phone really simple, if you want to bring your WhatsApp chats back. All you need to do is, complete your number verification and select the Google account where your backup previously was and restore it. WhatsApp immediately restores the messages and your WhatsApp is ready to use, but takes a while to restore the media files.
In-app preview of tweets (URLs) :
We have all shared tweets right off WhatsApp with our friends, sometimes to sly against the tweeter and to simply share the message on the others. However, till now if you shared a tweet via the Twitter URL, it was shared simply as a URL and no preview followed. With the latest update, you will be able to see the preview of the tweets when you share them in the form of chats. We also tried out the same with few other URLs, and it seems like there is an inconsistency as URL preview with images of certain sites is visible and not for the others. This brings WhatsApp on parity with Telegram at least in the preview feature.
Bookmarking or Starring of Chats :
Have that special message that someone sent or possibly received bank details that you know you would require later on? Now you can simply star the chats in WhatsApp, which you can easily refer back to. In order to star a chat, all you need to do is to long press on the chat that is important for you and click on the star icon that comes on the top. In order to view the starred chats, you need to go back in WhatsApp and click on the three dot menu which has the option of viewing your starred chats.
Deleting selective group messages :
Have you been a part of a group on WhatsApp for ages? If you take regular backup of your WhatsApp, you would already have messages in few thousands given how active the group has been. There is no way you will ever go back and read those messages. To tackle this and give the users extra bit of flexibility, WhatsApp has now given you the ability to selectively delete messages. Go to the group chat and click on the three dot menu. Click on More and then on 'Clear Chat'. Once you do that, you will have an option of clearing all the messages in the group chat or simply delete messages that are older than 30 days or 6 months.
Clearing All chats that are older than 30 months :
WhatsApp backup allows you to keep chat history of all the chats that have taken place since the account was created. And if you have taken judicious backups, then you would have truck loads of conversations that are doing nothing but taking space on your device. In order to get rid of messages that are say a month older or older than 6 months, you can do a simple procedure. In the app, click on the three dot menu and go into settings. In the settings, click on 'Chats and calls' where you need to find 'Chat history'. Here you have the option to 'Clear all chats' which on clicking will give you the option of either clearing all messages, or older than 30 days or 6 months.
We are really curious when WhatsApp will finally bring all these features to the mainstream app, although some of them are already out. Also, as a disclaimer, we just checked up the WhatsApp website and they have updated the WhatsApp version number to .347 which does not come with the backup to Google drive option. So if you are looking for that, go ahead and search for the apk of 2.12.342 version.