WhatsApp has finally confirmed that it will add stickers to its popular messaging app. The company revealed that support features for stickers will start to roll out worldwide in the coming weeks. First, Android users will get the new feature and then iOS. The plan is to make the selection of the first pack limited. This will benefit about 1.5 billion WhatsApp users. The design team at the company has largely been involved in developing the stickers but outside third-party developers too have been given a chance.
However, this will change in the future. The company said that even though at the moment the internal design teams are doing most of the work developing the stickers, individuals will be able to develop and introduce their own designs in the coming months. But users who want to offer a sticker pack will need to publish it first as an app on Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store. From there users will be able to download the sticker packs and use them in their messages. WhatsApp will also provide a template that will make it easier for developers to create the packs. The company said that the template is actually very easy to use and requires little coding experience.
Other messaging apps that have launched stickers have taken quite a different approach in past. Line, for instance, a messaging app that pioneered the idea of stickers, uses a lot of curated materials. All sticker packs are approved by the company. This has made it possible for the app to only provide the best curated stickers on its platform. However, stickers are not free and Line makes millions of dollars selling them.
Telegram, on the other hand, has a very open platform. Anyone can easily make and publish stickers there in a few minutes. However, this has a number of challenges. For instance, there are many cases of plagiarism reported and the overall quality of the stickers produced is not always that high.
It’s not clear yet how WhatsApp intends to keep the quality high. But for most people who have followed the company in the recent years, there’s no doubt that the idea of launching stickers comes directly from Facebook.
Facebook has taken a lead role in repositioning the messaging app since the time it acquired it. It’s no surprise that both WhatsApp co-founders left the social media company under controversial circumstances. Brian Acton and Jan Koum left Facebook citing irreconcilable differences with the company. Before WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook, the two had expressed their objection to any attempts to introduce ads, games, or other features to the platform.
According to them, WhatsApp is built as a messaging app and that is exactly how it should stay. But it seems their objection has done nothing to slow down Facebook. The social media giant has already introduced business-related services into the platform and the company may also bring in ads on WhatsApp stories.