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WhatsApp goes back to its roots, while also aping Snapchat

You may not know this, but the very first iteration of WhatsApp didn’t enable people to exchange messages. No, back in 2009, it was all about letting your friends know whether you were available or not.

Those first lines of code simply told friends whether you were available, busy, or occupied at places like school, work or the gym. It wasn’t until the summer of 2009 the startup decided to add messages and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now the firm is going back to its initial raison d’être, while also doing what all Facebook-owned products tend to do these days – integrating features borrowed from Snapchat.

Related: How to use WhatsApp video calling feature

The new ‘My Status’ message now allows users to add a series of photographs or videos, along with a custom status update, much like Snapchat Stories.

More specifically, it has integrated the Stories feature from its Facebook stablemate Instagram.

In a post on the WhatsApp blog, co-founder and CEO Jan Koum wrote: “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. From all of us at WhatsApp, we hope you enjoy it!”

As an added bonus, the new, interactive status feature will include end-to-end encryption just like your everyday calls and messages.

The update for iOS and Android is available to download today.

Is Facebook wise to ape Snapchat in so many ways? Share your thoughts below.

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