How To Predict WhatsApp Features

Pavel Durov
Nov 18, 2014 · 2 min read

A great thing about building Telegram is that you can force bigger apps to improve their products. And also predict their actions.

Since we launched Telegram, WhatsApp raised the maximum size of videos and group chats several times. They still didn’t catch up with us, but the progress, started exactly two weeks after Telegram was born, is evident. Following our path, WhatsApp recently introduced message Read Status, and today their first attempt to enable end-to-end encryption for Android texts.

The day we launched Telegram last year, Jan Koum shared a snarky remark with a Russian magazine: “Pavel Durov only knows how to copy great products like Facebook and Whatsapp, he never had and will never have original ideas”. I didn’t comment on it then, and am not going to do it today. Instead, I’ll have a look at Telegram and tell you guys what features WhatsApp users will enjoy within a year or so:

  • Ability to share documents of any type. They are unlikely to support 1Gb-large files like Telegram, but you can definitely count on 50–100Mb.
  • A Web version at web.whatsapp.com like web.telegram.org. This is certain, since Jan emailed the developer of Telegram for Web, unsuccessfully trying to hire him for this purpose (I guess it was surprising for Jan to learn that some people actually do not sell out, not just say so).
  • Distribution between multiple data-centers around the world. Combined with synchronization, this can take a while to set up. Still, if WhatsApp seriously wants to catch up, they need to do it to improve delivery time.
  • A self-destruct timer for messages. Line copied it rather bluntly (including the specific time values for self-desctruct timers we had back then). With end-to-end encryption almost there, WhatsApp is ready to implement it in a smarter way.

So what’s next? Within a few hours we are updating our iPhone and Android apps with some more features WhatsApp users might enjoy next year. If you still use WhatsApp and don’t want to wait, jump on board. This will be fun.

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