Group chat

February 22, 2011

It took us slightly longer, but group chat is finally here.  If you have an iPhone, BlackBerry or Android phone, simply upgrade to version 2.6 of our software to enjoy group chat.  If you have a Nokia Symbian S60 phone, we are working on adding group chat to our Symbian client and hope to release it shortly.

Here are a few important notes on group chat:

  • currently group chat is limited to 5 people.  in the future we will increase this limit.
  • you can exit a group chat that you are in at any time.  simply delete the group conversation from the main Chats window to do that.
  • you can control group chat alerts and notifications separately from individual messages.

we are continuing to work on adding more cool group chat features and fixing bugs…  if you have any group chat feedback, let us know.

- WhatsApp Team

iPhone 2.5.12: the extra mile

November 12, 2010

A couple months ago Apple published “App Store Review Guidelines” document. At the bottom of this document it said:

Above all else, join us in trying to surprise and delight users. Show them their world in innovative ways, and let them interact with it like never before. In our experience, users really respond to polish, both in functionality and user interface. Go the extra mile. Give them more than they expect. And take them places where they have never been before. We are ready to help.

Well, our 2.5.12 version does just that: it goes that extra mile. You will not find any new earth-shattering features in this release but we went over every single existing feature in the application and tried to improve it even more. So here is what is coming in 2.5.12 after Apple approves it:

  • Message history search: every wanted to search your conversation history by keywords?  now you can.
  • Copy image from clipboard: you can now paste images into the text input box.
  • Scroll bounce inside of the text input box now works.  This is a very minor detail but it was important for us to get it right and this also fixes autocorrection suggestions for Asian languages.
  • Video editing: when you try to send a video to your contact which is too long, the application will now ask you to edit and trim the video instead of just blindly tell you video can’t be sent.
  • Video thumbnails: no more will you see the generic blue video thumbnail when sending or receiving videos.  We will now generate a thumbnail from the video instead of showing you the default blue thumbnail.
  • Application now dismisses Camera when moved into the background.  This is a minor detail but that is expected and correct behavior.
  • You can now Delete or Forward  individual messages without having to go into the full conversation Edit mode.  Simply tap and hold on the message bubble to get the Copy/Delete/Forward menu popup.
  • Have you ever gotten a video or audio attachment in your Email that you wanted to forward directly to a WhatsApp contact?  Now you can: simply tap and hold on the attached file in the Email app.
  • Got an iPhone 4?  We now generate high resolution thumbnails for pictures that you send to your friends.
  • This will probably affect only a very small percentage of you, but application now behaves correctly when you are running low on storage space on your iPhone and try to use Camera for video or picture.
  • Full localization updates for languages we support.
  • We fixed our contact index bar: it should now work properly with all alphabets.
  • Our audio notes recorder got two updates: retina display graphics and localization.
  • You can now cancel multimedia during upload or download by pressing on the (X) button in the transparent progress indicator bar.
  • We spent A LOT of time trying to improve our networking code.  You should see drastic improvements in that area (especially if you use Wi-Fi)
  • We added Dutch localization to this release.
  • You can now preview pictures before sending them. No more sending the wrong picture by mistake.
  • We made rotation from Landscape to Portrait (and from Portrait to Landscape) work much faster.

We worked hard on the 2.5.12 version to bring you our most polished release to date.  We hope you will enjoy it.

Breaking the radio silence

September 19, 2010

It is hard to comprehend that 1992 was almost 20 years ago. It only seems like yesterday that Al Pacino delivered the performance of his life in Scent of a Woman – a performance that won him a best actor award. In that movie Lt. Col. Frank Slade says that “there isn’t nothin’ like the sight of an amputated spirit“, but there is also nothin’ like the sight of an abandoned blog. We are sorry we haven’t kept in touch with you through this blog, but if there was ever a time to break the Radio Silence, now is the time.

The first item we would like to address is the stability of our system: Yes, we are well aware that last week has been pretty bad and we are doing everything we can to improve the stability of the service. We have made some architectural changes already and in the next 48 hours will be making more improvements to the system. WhatsApp very quickly has evolved into a large user community and we are fully aware of our commitment to provide you with excellent service.

The second item we want to talk about is product related. Two months ago we released our Nokia Symbian client and it is now available for download from our website. We are working on adding multi-media transfer functionality to the Nokia Symbian client and hope to have it ready for you soon. We have also released our Android 2.x client for download from our website. Further, if you have Android 2.2 you will enjoy our use of c2dm to help you save on battery life. Our Android client already has most of the features of the iPhone client and we will be making it available in the Android Marketplace shortly. The question we also get asked a lot about is group chat: yes, we are working on it as well and hope to have it available later this year.

The last item we would like to quickly address is the cost of the product. A small number of you have asked us why don’t we switch to a free model and use advertising. The problem is that ads suck and ads suck even more on the small screen of a mobile device. We want to provide the best user experience and doing advertising will only get in the way of clean UI.

OK, we should now go back to working on the servers:)

Yes, it is coming!

April 3, 2010

Yes, in just 24 hours we will make our WhatApp messenger for BlackBerry available for direct download from our website.

We also just removed our app from the AppWorld and will no longer be distributing WhatsApp Messenger through the AppWorld. We are making this change primarily for the following reasons:

- Worldwide distribution. AppWorld is currently limited to just a handful of countries and we want to make our app available to you no matter where you live.

- Try and buy. You will be able to download our Blackberry application for free, try it and pay for one year of service through Paypal (Google checkout option coming soon). Switching to service and charging an annual subscription will help us better deal with piracy and build a sustainable business.

- For our existing Blackberry users, we want to thank you for your help in beta testing and early adoption. If you already purchased and registered WhatsApp from the AppWorld, your account will get 10 year subscription automatically.

Our goal is to launch Sunday night (we are in PST), so check for availability

Looking for a few beta testers

January 28, 2010

If there is anything we learned in the past few weeks is that we need to do better job of beta testing our application all across the world.

So we are looking for about 15-20 people to help us beta test our upcoming releases. Here are the requirements:

1. You are not in North America (we already got North America covered)
2. You love WhatsApp, use it every day and care about every little detail inside the app
3. You have a Mac and your iPhone is synced to your iTunes on your Mac
4. You are somewhat technically savvy (you understand the difference between 3G and WiFi and understand how internet works)
5. You know what your iPhone UDID is or you know how to get it.

If you would like to participate, simply leave a comment stating what country and mobile carrier you are using. We are looking for geographical and mobile carrier diversity. If we feel that you qualify, will let you know.

UPDATE: Thank you everybody who responded. Beta program is now closed.

if your WhatsApp is crashing all of sudden…

January 11, 2010

If you have recently installed the latest Facebook app and enabled contact sync between the Facebook app and your iPhone Address Book, most likely that is the problem. The bug is not with the Facebook app but with the way our app re-sizes images for your contacts inside of your chat conversation. Obviously we are working on a fix and will submit it into Apple shortly.

To resolve the issue, try to follow these steps:

1. disable facebook sync and facebook photo sync from inside the facebook app. to do that, go into Facebook app, go into ‘Friends’ and tap on ‘Sync’ in the top right hand corner.

2. launch WhatsApp and see if step 1. alone fixed it. if it did not, try to replace your current Address Book with the a recent iTunes backup.

If WhatsApp still crashes for you when trying to have a chat with a specific contact, delete a picture for that contact from the iPhone Address Book (or to be safe delete pictures for all contacts in your Address Book with whom you use WhatsApp chats with)

networking fix update…

December 15, 2009

we submitted 2.4 with networking fix on saturday and are working with apple to get 2.4 approved as quick as possible. meanwhile we removed the app from the following countries which are having network problems: France, Singapore, Switzerland, and Austrlia.

as soon as 2.4 is approved, will re-enable those countries back in…

we apologize a million times for this and hope you will all be enjoying 2.4 shortly.

some notes on the 2.3 release

December 12, 2009

well, 2.3 is here and it is time to update everybody on what works and what doesn’t in the 2.3 release.

before we do that, we want to extend a huge THANK YOU to our users for coming to our rescue and helping us deal with the issue we mentioned in the previous blog post. we were overwhelmed by all of the support emails and tweets we got from you. that level of kindness and encouragement only made us want to deliver an even better release for our users. we put a lot of effort into 2.3 and hope it will have a favorable reception.

first, we want to talk about whats new in 2.3 and explain some features:

1. media transfer: any iPhone (2G, 3G, or 3GS) with any OS can send audio and pictures (either existing picture from your Camera Roll or by taking a picture). if you have an iPhone 3GS running iPhone OS 3.1 or higher, you can also send a video (either one from your Camera Roll or by recording one in real time). both parties need to be running version 2.3 in order to send and receive media messages.

by default, images and videos you receive will be saved to your iPhone Camera Roll. if you’d like, you can turn off automatic media saving by switching the “Save Incoming Media” button to Off (accessible in settings page).

2. message delivery receipts: in 2.3 you probably have noticed by now that you see a red letter attached to every message you send. those red letters are actually quite important because they tell you if your message was delivered properly or not. in a future version we will most likely replace these letters with graphics and have the software automatically re-try delivery if it fails, but for now you just get a visual indication of the state of your message. here is what each letter means:

  • u – unknown – message was sent to a chat partner who is currently online and is running an older version of the app for an iPhone (or a BlackBerry beta version)
  • S – Sent – message has successfully arrived at the Server (and push notification alert was generated for offline iPhone users)
  • D – Delivered – message was succesfully delivered to the Device of the chat partner.

3. there are a also a lot of minor improvements. for example: you can now disable message text preview (just like w/SMS) and you can also select a specific sound to play when push notifications arrive. we encourage you to explore the WhatsApp > Settings > Chat Settings screen and customize the application to your liking.

unfortunately, now would be a good time to mention what went wrong with the 2.3 release. in an attempt to optimize how our application connects to our service, it looks like people on the following mobile networks can no longer connect to WhatsApp over 3G/UMTS (while still able to connect via Wi-Fi):

  • Bouygues Telecom, France
  • SingTel, Singapore
  • M1, Singapore
  • Mobily, Saudi Arabia
  • Zian, Kuwait
  • Optus, Australia
  • Cellcom, Israel.
  • Etisalat, UAE
  • Orange, France
  • Orange, UK
  • PCCW, Hong Kong
  • T-Mobile, USA
  • China Telecom, China
  • Smartone-Vodafone, Hong Kong

the good news is that we have identified the problem and are already in the process of submitting version 2.4 which fixes the issue. we will also email Apple Review Team and ask them to expedite the review process since it is affecting many of our users. meanwhile, until 2.4 is available, you can continue to use WhatsApp 2.3 on Wi-Fi.

Just wanted to say a few things…

November 19, 2009

It has been about two months since our last blog entry. We’ve been meaning to write something up, but we’ve been really busy working on all the new features you’ve been requesting (version 2.3 will be simply amazing btw!)

Yet, we never imagined that our next blog post would be about this.

Here is the story. Two days ago a developer of a competing application decided that instead of working on his software, he would go into iTunes, create about ten different accounts, and spread lies and misinformation about what our application does.

So first of all, let’s set the record straight. We have not, we do not and we will not ever sell your personal information to anyone. Period. End of story. Hopefully this clears things up.

That being said, we get a lot of emails and tweets thanking us for such a wonderful application and until now, we haven’t asked for anything in return. Unfortunately, circumstances have changed. We now need your help and in a way this is our call to action to you, each and every one of you.

Problematically, those fictitious reviews and fake accounts have rated each others reviews as “Helpful”. This pushes the spurious reviews to the top and scares away new and existing users. So instead of spending today working on software development, we pretty much spent all day answering people’s emails and concerns on this subject.

So, this is where you, our awesome users, can help us:

First, launch iTunes by clicking on this link.

That link should display all the fictitious reviews. They are easily identified by a very similar writing style and by having been written on the same day. You will see about ten of them from usernames such as 90sMusic, theTechGuy18, KenyeWest, listenhererightnow, googlereader, blitzcrank, etc.

We need your help discrediting these reviews. You can do this by clicking on the “No” link in the “Was this review helpful? Yes/No” section at the bottom right-hand corner of each review:

If enough people choose “No”, the helpfulness ratio will go down and the reviews will automatically demote to the bottom and out of sight.

In exchange for your help, we promise to our users that we will only spend our time on improving our software and adding features; never on stunts like this. We are engineers. We like to write code. And, we want to bring you the best applications possible. It is simply not fun when lawyers get involved and take our time away from that.

Thank you for your help and support,

– WhatsApp Inc. team

…and to the developer of the competing app, who shall remain nameless, we have four words for you: “karma is a bitch”. And if you don’t like those four words, here’s four more: “We have retained counsel.”

Apple Review

September 12, 2009

Apple has recevied a lot of criticism lately for the way they approve (or reject) iPhone applications. Some of it has been fair (long wait times) and some of it has not (i am with Apple on google voice rejection).

WhatsApp 2.0 was recently approved by Apple and i just wanted to let everybody know that albeit a standard two week wait, our story with Apple review team is quite different. It is actually good, unlike a lot of negative approval stories floating on the Internets

While waiting for approval, we got a call from Apple asking us (very politely) to remove all references to BlackBerry App Store in our application description. That made total sense to us and we removed them right away. A few days later we were in contact with Apple and they asked us to remove certain keywords from iTunes Connect and again. They explained why and their request was absolutely reasonable. And a few days later after that we were in contact with Apple again because they wanted us to change our chat UI. Our apple contact was very polite and explained exactly what we should change and why. He also said that we can optionally decide not to change the UI, but it would just take another week or two to get the application approved. Since we wanted to push the release out ASAP, we changed the UI, re-submitted and got approved the next day.

Throughout this interaction with Apple, they have shown to be extremely helpful and absolutely reasonable in their requests. Thank you guys!


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