WhatsApp may actively be working on a feature to let users interact and message users on other third-party apps, similar to how Signal does it. This means that not only will WhatsApp users be able to message users on other messaging apps, but others can message WhatsApp users without having to create a WhatsApp account.
A recent WhatsApp beta version for iOS (184.108.40.206) gives us a clue as to what this might look like, as cited by WABetaInfo. As the image shows, there will be a new section under the ‘Chats’ section that will house all the ‘Thiry-party Chats’.
Additionally, control over this feature will remain in the hands of the users, as they’ll have the option to turn on this service themselves or choose to opt out of it.
According to WABetaInfo, this interoperability may very well be a result of the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which reins in the power of industry ‘gatekeepers’ and forces companies to let users on different messaging apps communicate with each other. It helps to know that end-to-end encryption will still be maintained under such a system, so there shouldn’t be much of a security issue with it.
It’s unclear how long it will take for this feature of interoperability to become available to users, both on iOS and Android. But with EU legislation about to be enforced on March 6, it’s possible that it may not be too far off from that date.
Do note that, though this is one of the biggest things to happen to WhatsApp, it will be restricted to Europe. One can only hope for such interoperability to be extended the world over.