WhatsApp launched a handful of new photo editing features Monday, including the ability to draw on pictures, add emojis like you would stickers, and use the flash on the front-facing camera “so you can take the perfect selfie.”
These features aren’t unique to messaging apps — Snapchat has popularized them and others like Facebook and Instagram and Twitter have quickly adopted them in hopes people will share more inside their respective apps.
But the fact that they aren’t unique is what makes it somewhat intriguing that WhatsApp is building them. WhatsApp has a reputation as a bare-bones utility messaging app. That is, it helps you send encrypted SMS-style messages, for free, almost anywhere in the world, but it has ignored a lot of the frills that most other messaging apps have been adding to make their apps more fun (like sticker-style emojis).
Couple the new photo editing tools with WhatsApp’s recent announcement about sharing info with parent-company Facebook in hopes of eventually getting users messaging with businesses, and WhatsApp appears to be moving toward a more mainstream messaging product.
The new photo editing features are rolling out on Android starting Monday, and coming to iOS “soon,” according to a company blog.