Facebook-owned WhatsApp is one of the more popular freeware, cross-platform messaging and voice over IP (VoIP) service out there. People around the world are constantly conversing over WhatsApp for a large part of their day. As such, the instant messaging app has become one of the most convenient platforms to share moments and memories through texting, voice messages, videos, and imagery.

With the soaring popularity of WhatsApp, Facebook Inc. is constantly trying to modify it and keep it relevant among users. The year 2019 too saw WhatsApp getting a number of popular updates ranging from catalogs for small businesses to introducing Fingerprint Lock for Android.

Here are 5 of the most popular updates WhatsApp saw in 2019:

Group Video Call or Voice Call for WhatsApp

Another useful feature WhatsApp introduced was group calling for voice and video. The feature sees users being able to make group calls to up to four people by starting a one-on-one voice or video call and then tapping the ‘add participant’ button in the top right corner of the app.

Frequently Forwarded messages

WhatsApp started rolling out ‘frequently forwarded’ feature for its users in India. The feature helps users spot messages that have been forwarded multiple times in the platform. These messages come with a special double arrow icon and appear when a message has been forwarded for more than five times.

Fingerprint Lock for Android

Following the launch of Touch ID and Face ID for iPhone to provide added security for WhatsApp users, Fingerprint Lock for Android was introduced on October 31. To enable it, one has to tap Settings > Account > Privacy > Fingerprint lock. Turn on Unlock with fingerprint, and confirm their fingerprint.

WhatsApp’s fingerprint lock feature is now available for Android users

WhatsApp’s fingerprint lock feature is now available for Android users ( WhatsApp )

Privacy Settings for Groups

WhatsApp introduced the Privacy Settings for Groups through which users could decide who can add them to groups. To enable the feature one had to go to Settings in their app and then tap Account > Privacy > Groups and select one of three options — ‘Everyone,’ ‘My Contacts,’ or ‘My Contacts Except.’

‘My Contacts’ means only users one has on their address book can add them to groups. ‘My Contacts Except’ provides additional control for who among the contacts can add one to a certain group. For admins who can’t add someone to a group, they will be prompted to send a private invite through an individual chat, giving the user the choice of joining a group or not.

Business Catalog

The year saw the introduction of catalogs in the WhatsApp Business app. The catalogs are a mobile storefront for businesses to showcase and share their goods so people can easily browse and decide on something they would like to purchase.

Earlier, businesses had to send product photos one at a time and repeatedly provide information regarding a product. Now, customers can see the full catalog within WhatsApp itself, making businesses not only look more professional, but also keep customers engaged without them moving to a website.

The catalog feature is available using the WhatsApp Business app on both Android and iPhone in Brazil, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico, the UK and the US.