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WhatsApp Launches File-Sharing Tool

WhatsApp, the popular mobile messaging service, has launched a new feature: document sharing.

WhatsApp, which was acquired by Facebook in 2014 and passed 1 billion users this February, recently announced that they plan to develop the app as a tool of businesses.

The file-sharing tool seems like the first step in that direction.

On both Andriod and iOS, the new file-sharing tool is easy to use.

Within a conversation, simply click the attachment option, and then you can choose to attach a photo, video, contact, location, or document.

Upon tapping the document option, you’ll be prompted to choose a document from any of the cloud storage systems linked to your phone, such as Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, or Quip. At the moment, WhatsApp will only let you share PDF files, although there are signs that they are working to enable other kinds of documents for the future.

Once you have attached and sent the document, the recipient will be able to see a preview of it within the chat. The preview shows an image of the document, the file type, the file size, and the number of pages.

If nothing else, the file type display suggests that WhatsApp will let you share Microsoft Office documents and more soon. WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption on its network, which will provide protection for the shared documents.

Everyday users may appreciate the ability to share documents with their friends and family, but the new feature seems to line up particularly well with WhatsApp’s goal of making the app more business-friendly.

In a blog post describing how the app plans to move forward, a WhatsApp spokesperson envisioned business and consumer interaction “could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight." The ability to send documents such as receipts, invoices, coupons, and tickets would be very helpful for this kind of interaction.

This is likely to be just a first step for WhatsApp, an app that has already seen impressive growth in recent years.


Written by content manager Meghan Woolley

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