Table of Contents
- Why Do We Need More Features in WhatsApp?
- Top Features That WhatsApp Should Consider Adding
- 1. No Phone Number Required for Registration
- 2. Self-Destructing Messages
- 3. Hide Profile Photo From Individual Contacts
- 4. Note to Self
- 5. Removing Image Metadata
- 6. Blur Faces Before Sharing Images
- 7. Send Without Notification Sound
- 8. Chat Request
- There’s Room for Improvement for WhatsApp
WhatsApp is the most popular instant messenger available as of now. It is easy to use and features a ton of options for individuals and businesses. When it comes to security and privacy, though, WhatsApp has been under fire for various reasons.
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If WhatsApp can introduce some essential privacy-focused features, it can also take the crown for being one of the most secure messaging services.
This article will mention some of the features that WhatsApp can add to its arsenal to turn itself into a superior messaging app.
Why Do We Need More Features in WhatsApp?
One would argue that WhatsApp already offers all the essential privacy-centric features; why do we need more? The presence of end-to-end encryption, privacy controls, and the upcoming encrypted chat backup feature should be enough for most.
However, considering the user base of WhatsApp (in billions) and the amount of data involved, it can use more privacy-focused features.
In some cases, users even rely on WhatsApp to receive payments or banking services. So, the scope of its usage and risk associated is more than ever.
Top Features That WhatsApp Should Consider Adding
It is worth noting that the points mentioned are a combination of existing features in WhatsApp alternatives like Telegram, Signal, and Threema. A few of these points are our own suggestions.
1. No Phone Number Required for Registration
Most of the messaging services require you to register using your phone number. While we do not mind giving it away to access an essential messaging service, it is an important piece of information associated with your messaging activity.
Hence, if you do not have to share your phone number to use WhatsApp, it would be a top-notch privacy feature to have.
If you trust the messaging service with your phone number, that is your personal preference. But, what if you could use a messaging service without needing your phone number? In fact, a few messaging services have already demonstrated this feature. Secure messaging services like Threema and Session are two privacy-focused options that let you do this.
It is certainly not an easy implementation. However, with the kind of resources WhatsApp has at its disposal, it should not be a big feat to achieve.
2. Self-Destructing Messages
WhatsApp is experimenting with some form of messages that can be seen once and destroyed. However, you cannot send messages that self-destruct after a certain time in a conversation/group.
This feature is incredibly useful if you want to share sensitive information and do not want the messages in the conversation later. Messaging apps like Signal allow you to enable self-destruct messages for the entire group, which should also come in handy if present in WhatsApp.
In either case, it should also let you auto-clean chats, if you prefer that, from time to time, using an appropriate timer.
Considering many secure messaging services offer this feature, WhatsApp can use the addition as well.
3. Hide Profile Photo From Individual Contacts
Currently, you can choose to hide your profile picture from all your contacts or anyone who uses WhatsApp. However, you do not have the ability to hide your profile picture from a specific individual.
A feature that would let you do that would mean a greater level of privacy control. And, indeed, a convenient one that does not require you to entirely hide your profile picture just to keep it private from a particular user.
4. Note to Self
Sometimes, you want to copy a piece of text or a link to share with your friends later, but where do you keep it before sharing it?
You can choose to store it in your notes app or bookmark the links, but is it practical to do it every time you want to keep something as a draft? Moreover, when you do that, you end up relying on another service to keep your data private, which can be inconvenient.
So, a feature that can help send messages/links to yourself in the messaging app to store as notes should come in handy. You can choose to use it as your personal notes or use the space to store drafts before forwarding messages to someone.
5. Removing Image Metadata
Almost everyone shares photos using WhatsApp. However, when sharing a photo, your metadata remains along with the photo.
Information such as location, camera sensor, and more remain intact. But, if WhatsApp could cut off the metadata when you upload it, that could be a massive benefit for privacy-conscious users.
For instance, you get this feature when you share a photo through the gallery app on a Xiaomi device. We cannot be sure if it is technically feasible for WhatsApp, but it would be a nice feature to have.
6. Blur Faces Before Sharing Images
With the Signal app, you can hide/blur a person’s face before sharing the image with someone. This should be incredibly useful when you do not want to reveal a person’s identity or want a stranger’s face to appear in your photo. In either case, it can be useful to hide important details in your images as well.
As mentioned previously, images already contain many precious data points. So, the less we give away, the better for privacy.
7. Send Without Notification Sound
Considering most of your contacts are on WhatsApp, it is often overwhelming to get notification sounds. So, if you want to avoid disturbing the recipient, you can choose to send a message without the sound, similar to a feature found in Telegram.
This can also enable you to send messages to someone privately without them needing to enable the silent mode in their phone.
8. Chat Request
To improve security and prevent users from getting fooled, if a user is not in your contact list, they should not be able to send you any messages. While WhatsApp already disables URLs sent by unknown users, the text message gets through with any images included.
So, it is better to have a chat request feature where a sender needs to request permission before sending anything through.
There’s Room for Improvement for WhatsApp
For most users, WhatsApp offers a good combination of usability and privacy-focused features. However, it is not the ultimate solution to take control of your privacy. To outshine other secure messengers, WhatsApp would need to add these features at the very least.
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