WhatsApp to Introduce Cross-Platform Messaging: A New Era of Connectivity

WhatsApp, the popular messaging app known for its end-to-end encryption (E2EE), is about to enter a new phase of connectivity. In a groundbreaking move, Meta, the company that owns WhatsApp, will soon introduce support for cross-platform messaging. This means that users will be able to communicate with individuals using different messaging platforms. With this development, WhatsApp aims to enhance the user experience and foster seamless communication across various services.

To ensure that users are not bombarded with unwanted messages, Meta has taken the initiative to make this cross-platform messaging feature opt-in. Users will have the choice to enable or disable this functionality, effectively preventing any potential spam or unwanted chat requests. This measure aligns with the upcoming regulations set forth by the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which is due to be implemented by March 6th.

Once the chat interoperability is activated on WhatsApp, users will enjoy the ability to exchange messages seamlessly, along with various types of attachments. Whether it’s text, images, videos, or documents, the new feature will enable effortless sharing. This will be facilitated through a dedicated “Third Party Chats” section located at the top of the user’s chat list. Here, users will be informed about messages received from individuals on other platforms, effectively segregating these chats from those protected by WhatsApp’s E2EE encryption.

To achieve seamless cross-platform messaging, WhatsApp is taking active steps to establish connection protocols between different chat services. By documenting its client-server protocol, WhatsApp allows other chat platforms to connect their clients directly to its servers and exchange messages across platforms seamlessly. These messages can be encrypted using the open-source Signal Protocol, offering a secure and reliable means of communication. Alternatively, chat platforms can choose to utilize a “proxy” system that communicates with their own service, provided it meets WhatsApp’s rigorous security standards.

While the report does not reveal specific partnerships, it suggests that several popular messaging platforms are currently exploring collaborations with WhatsApp to enable third party chats. Integrating this feature will require extensive development and adherence to WhatsApp’s security and encryption standards. However, it is important to note that regular SMS messages will not be supported by the third-party chats feature. For now, the focus remains on enabling text-based communication, with future possibilities of extending to other forms, such as audio and video calls.

WhatsApp Engineering Director, Dick Brouwer, explains that the development of features on WhatsApp itself will progress at a different pace compared to third-party chats. This ensures that user experience and security are prioritized in each aspect of the app. Users will also have the flexibility to decide whether they want to opt-in to receive chats from third-party platforms, safeguarding them against potential spam and scams. The third-party chats interface has been in development, as indicated by a feature tracker, although a specific rollout date for this exciting feature has yet to be announced.

As the deadline for DMA regulations approaches, WhatsApp users in the European Union can anticipate the introduction of cross-platform messaging within the next month. This landmark development will pave the way for a new era of connectivity and communication. WhatsApp’s commitment to enhancing the user experience while prioritizing security showcases its determination to remain at the forefront of the messaging app market. Stay tuned for more updates on third-party chats as WhatsApp continues to innovate and connect users across different platforms.

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