WhatsApp update: send messages with Google Now

We’re always keeping an eye on new WhatsApp features, and the latest update to Google Now has particular relevance to the popular messaging app. Head to the updated section below for the all the latest WhatsApp update news. 

Highlight recent changes

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What’s new in the latest WhatsApp update. / © ANDROIDPIT

July 29, 2015:

This isn’t strictly an update to the WhatsApp app, but it could affect how you interact with it. You can now use a Google Now voice command to send a WhatsApp message to one of your contacts, just say "Ok Google, send a WhatsApp message to [contact name]." You will then be prompted to dictate the message you want to send.  

Alternatively, you can record it all in one statement, like "Ok, Google, send WhatsApp message to Malcolm, I’m still in love with you," or something else. 

If you’re new to Google Now voice commands, hit the link to see a list of what else can be achieved with Google’s handy personal assistant. 

July 22, 2015: The low data usage option can be found in the Chats and Calls menu within WhatsApps settings. It affects how much mobile data is consumed during WhatsApp calls. This could be an excellent addition for those who often make calls using mobile data, although we don’t yet know to what extent it reduces the data consumed.

androidpit whatsapp chats calls notifications
Left: Chats and Calls menu with the low data usage settings. Right: new custom notifications for users. / © ANDROIDPIT

The second new feature is housed in the notifications settings for individual contacts. You can now customize the notification you receive for each contact, its sound or LED color, for example, as well as temporarily muting notifications from them.

This means that your phone won’t make a sound or vibrate, but you can still see their notifications, should you choose to.  

To download the latest version of WhatsApp, hit the link.

androidpit whatsapp mute function
You can now temporarily mute individual users. / © ANDROIDPIT

WhatsApp Like button

July 3, 2015: Picked up by WhatsApp beta tester Ilhan Pektas, there is now speculation that WhatsApp is going to introduce a ‘Like’ button. Mr Pektas sent a tweet which translates as: "Like Button for divided images in WhatsApp: o #cool".

We don’t know much more about it at this point, and there’s nothing to necessarily say it will become a full feature. But as the ‘Like’ button is already a facet of Facebook, and given the tradition of Facebook implementing existing features into the WhatsApp interface (such as Messenger’s ‘read message’ ticks), it’s possible that this feature will appear. 

And speaking of the read message ticks…

WhatsApp mark messages as unread

An unrelated rumor courtesy of ADSLZone suggests that another feature currently being tested by WhatsApp is the ability to mark messages as unread. Though we can all do it with our emails, hiding the fact that you’ve seen a message is not yet available to WhatsApp users.

There’s nothing to suggest that either feature will appear in the next WhatsApp update, but a supposed leaked internal WhatsApp document indicates that this functionality is being worked on. View it below. 

It’s also unclear whether this will affect the ‘message seen’ blue ticks on the sender’s device, or if it will only be ‘unseen’ for the receiver. We’ll update this page when we learn more. 

WhatsApp internal document
In this internal WhatsApp document, the new feature is already being discussed. / © ADSLzone.net

June 24, 2015: In some of the latest versions of WhatsApp given out the beta testers group, global search made it debut. Usually when you tap the search icon you can only search for the names of your WhatsApp contacts. This latest version extends that search to all words in all conversations. This means finding that particular chat a breeze.

However, like the Google Drive chat backup option, this feature has since been removed, but at least we know that WhatsApp is interested in testing it. Let us know in the comments what you think of this feature and if you’d like to see it introduced permanently.

We’ve contacted WhatsApp for clarification on these elusive (but very useful) beta features and will update this article with any information we receive.

AndroidPIT WhatsApp global search function
The global search function disappeared very quickly but we’d love to see it return. / © Android Police

May 15, 2015: WhatsApp version 2.12.87 introduced a number of design improvements to its interface. Most notable of these is the lighter conversation wallpaper, material design icons, and an improved call interface in employing WhatsApp’s ‘teal’ color scheme. 

Another minor additions which you may or may not notice are the in the more subtle search menu, with ‘search…’ now faintly written instead of the spyglass icon. Download the latest version via APK mirror, and check out how the call window now looks below. 

In India, meanwhile, the country’s third-largest private sector bank launched ‘Ping Pay’, a service which will allow its customers to transfer money using WhatsApp. Customers will be able to send money even to non-Axis bank accounts using Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), with a Rs. 50,000 daily limit. Its success could pave the way for other countries to start using WhatsApp as a payment service.

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WhatsApp’s new and improved call interface. / © ANDROIDPIT

April 22, 2015: We’re not entirely sure when this change happened, but newer versions of WhatsApp (but not the version available in the Play Store – you’ll need at least v2.12.30 for this feature) let you mark an unknown number as spam when you block it. If you receive a message from a number you don’t have in your contacts list, you will see an option to report that number as spam when you block it. Here’s the screenshots of the feature in action. You can still block a number (without reporting it as spam) in the overflow menu on the top right of the conversation.

AndroidPIT WhatsApp block number report as spam
Newer versions of WhatsApp allow you to report unknown numbers as spam when you block them. / © ANDROIDPIT

Version 2.12.45 of the WhatsApp APK introduced a feature whereby you can backup all of your messages, contacts, and settings to Google Drive. You can access the new features by going to Settings > Chat settings > Chat Backup. Here you can choose how regularly you want backups to occur, as well as whether you want backups to happen over a mobile data connection as well as Wi-Fi.

Backups to Google Drive are scheduled for 4am, though you can manually choose to ‘Back up now’ at any time. Interestingly though, the feature has been removed from subsequent versions of WhatsApp, including four versions released over a 24-hour period on April 21-22. We’ve contacted WhatsApp for clarification on the feature’s removal, and will update this article as soon as we know more.

androidpit whatsapp google drive
WhatsApp’s latest update lets you sync with Google Drive. / © ANDROIDPIT

You can download the WhatsApp 2.12.45 APK at APK Mirror along with newer versions (that don’t have Google Drive backup enabled). You can also pick up the WhatsApp APK on the official WhatsApp download page. Just make sure you have the exact version number you’re after, as WhatsApp only hosts one APK at a time.

April 14, 2015 – WhatsApp update delivers Material Design at last

The latest WhatsApp update, v2.12.38, has finally delivered a Material Design overhaul to the world’s most popular instant messaging app. The update brings about a long-overdue visual makeover, but retains some parts of the app we’ve all come to rely on, including that funky default wallpaper. See below for screens and to grab the APK for yourself right now.

Admittedly, there’s nothing too revolutionary in the overhaul. The thing about Material Design is that we know what we’re going to get. The update brings round profile icons and the three tabs at the top has become joined with the WhatsApp banner up top (which, incidentally, has lost its logo). The icons for searching, calling and the overflow menu are slightly remodeled and the green color is even a little more lively.

AndroidPIT WhatsApp Material Design update 2
The new WhatsApp is clean and flat and even has a new shade of green. / © ANDROIDPIT

Right now the Play Store doesn’t have the latest version with the Material Design changes on board. For the latest version you’ll have to enable Unknown Sources in your Security settings (don’t forget to disable unknown Sources once you’re done) and then head to the WhatsApp website to download the latest and greatest APK.

AndroidPIT WhatsApp Material Design update 1
Never fear, the blue check marks and original wallpaper are still there. / © ANDROIDPIT

31 March, 2015 – WhatsApp voice calling out now

As long as you have WhatsApp version 2.12.19 or above, which is the first version that does not require an invitation call (which admittedly didn’t work for everyone anyway), you’ll be able to use the WhatsApp calling feature. You will need to enable ‘Unknown Sources’ in your device’s security settings first so you can install it.

AndroidPIT WhatsApp voice calls call log outgoing

Once enabled you’ll have a call log and calls directed to your contacts will be done through WhatsApp. / © ANDROIDPIT

We’ve found the call quality to be a little patchy but some are claiming it’s better and more stable than Skype. We’ll assume the concrete bunkers we all live in are causing the problem, and not WhatsApp’s efforts. Once enabled, you’ll see a three-tab layout with a calling option next to your contacts.

AndroidPIT WhatsApp voice calls incoming tabs
Once you’ve received an incoming call you’ll see a third tab: Calls. / © ANDROIDPIT

If you’re having any trouble getting the service to work, you can try some alternative methods in our guide on how to manually enable WhatsApp voice calling. If you want to know how to silence incoming WhatsApp calls now that you’ve got yet another calling channel to worry about, here’s a quick guide for that too.

WhatsApp Messenger Install on Google Play

Have you got the latest version of WhatsApp? What do you think of it? 

[Source : https://www.androidpit.com/whatsapp-update]