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WhatsApp’s Updates ‘Status’ Feature To Borrow From Snapchat

Blink and you'll miss it but WhatsApp's newest feature looks very familiar.

The Facebook-owned encrypted messaging app is updating its "Status" feature to allow users to share disappearing photos and videos with their friends, the same way they would in Snapchat and Instagram stories.

Image: A screenshot of the new WhatsApp feature
A screenshot of the new WhatsApp feature. WhatsApp

Related: Snap Goes Public: Wall Street Prepares for Tech’s Biggest IPO Since Facebook

The update may come as no surprise, since Instagram, which is also owned by Facebook, rolled out the new stories feature last year.

Here's how it works on WhatsApp: Instead of just putting a text status like "at the gym," or "busy," you can now add photos and videos showing your friends what you are doing. Like Instagram and Snapchat, you can also jazz up those photos with drawings and captions.

Those updates will disappear after 24 hours and you'll have full control over who gets to see your status. And in true WhatsApp fashion, even those statuses will be encrypted, according to a blog post from WhatsApp CEO and co-founder Jan Koum.

"Just like eight years ago when we first started WhatsApp, this new and improved status feature will let you keep your friends who use WhatsApp easily updated in a fun and simple way," Koum said.

Facebook to buy WhatsApp for $16 billion 0:56

WhatsApp now has 1.2 billion users and the new feature could potentially be used as a way for the app to explore new revenue streams, such as advertising. WhatsApp previously charged $1 per year after the first year of use, but announced in January 2016 it was dropping that fee.

Facebook has already has experienced tremendous success with the Snapchat-like stories in Instagram. A few months after launch, the company reported more than 150 million people are using Instagram stories each day.