WhatsApp is reportedly testing a new cross-platform messaging feature that opens a new screen called “third-party chats.” Apparently, this is in response to the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which last week named Meta as one of the big six tech companies to be considered gatekeepers.
The new feature is still in its beta stage, according to TechCrunch, and represents the first example of the new European Union regulatory framework.
The new screen appears in a development version of the Android app for WhatsApp and is different from your default WhatsApp inbox, according to WABetaInfo.
The feature is still in its developmental stage and offers virtually nothing. However, the idea is to offer you access to a dedicated menu where you can see incoming messages from people who are using other messaging apps.
The six gatekeepers named by the EU last week include Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta, and Microsoft. All six gatekeepers have six months to comply with the full set of obligations.
Meanwhile, Apple’s iMessage is not part of the core messaging services as it currently does not meet the 45 million+ user threshold.
As described by WABetaInfo, cross-platform messaging simply means:
“Interoperability will allow other people to contact users on WhatsApp even if they don’t have a WhatsApp account. For example, someone from the Signal app could send a message to a WhatsApp user, even without a WhatsApp account.”
Third-party chat is still under development and will not be available for public use until a later date.
In other news, WhatsApp recently rolled out a new update that allows you to create a new group even if you do not know what name to give it.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the new update via his Facebook page a couple of weeks ago. Any new group yet to be named will, however, be limited to only six participants.
Such groups will be dynamically named based on the users added to them, Meta said, per TechCrunch.
The group name will appear differently for every participant, but this will depend on how they have saved contacts on their phone. If you join an unnamed group with people who have not saved their contacts, your phone number will become visible in the group name, WhatsApp said.
What this means is that the new elements are likely targeted at more friends and family who are already familiar with one another.