WhatsApp Messaging App Gains Document Sharing Features

The messaging app continues to expand its capabilities for users, with other services expected to come in the future.

WhatsApp Messenger, WhatsApp, document sharing, PDF, messaging apps, smartphones, Android, iOS

WhatsApp users can now share documents with others thanks to a selection of new features. To start, only PDF documents will be sharable, but other document types are expected to be unveiled soon.

Although WhatsApp has not announced the changes to its messaging app, it is rolling them out to users immediately, according to a March 2 story by AndroidPolice. The document sharing feature does not appear to be in a new version of the app but instead is being added to existing versions as updates through a server-side trigger, the story reported.

WhatsApp users can now send a document by tapping the attachment icon in a chat and choosing the blue document icon on the display. A file preview shown to users gives the file size, number of pages and file type details.

The ability to share documents through WhatsApp has been anticipated by users for quite a while as a way to make the app even more useful.

WhatsApp recently turned 7 years old and announced that it had logged its 1 billionth user.

In February, the company announced that it will end support for the BlackBerry, Nokia S40, Nokia Symbian S60, Android 2.2 and 2.1, and Windows Phone 7.1 mobile operating systems by the end of 2016 as the user bases for the platforms have continued to shrink.

That move comes as consumers have flocked instead to Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems on the majority of mobile devices in the marketplace, according to a recent eWEEK story. When WhatsApp began in 2009, about 70 percent of smartphones sold at the time had operating systems offered by BlackBerry and Nokia, while mobile operating systems offered by Google, Apple and Microsoft—which account for 99.5 percent of sales today—were on less than 25 percent of mobile devices sold back then.

Now the company is making adjustments to its offerings to reflect those changes and to continue to improve its app for the majority of its users while dropping its support for older, less popular mobile platforms.

The company recommends that WhatsApp users who want to continue to use the app make the switch to a mobile device that runs on an operating system that will be supported by the company.

WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook in February 2014 for about $4 billion in cash and $12 billion in stock, according to an earlier eWEEK report. WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging app that allows users to exchange messages without having to pay separately for SMS. Santa Clara, Calif.-based WhatsApp launched in 2009.

A security flaw in WhatsApp was patched in August 2015 that could have exposed a substantial number of its users to risk, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The flaw, which was discovered by security vendor Check Point, could have allowed an attacker to send a WhatsApp Web user a vCard that included malicious code. A vCard is an industry-standard format for business card information. According to Check Point, the unpatched WhatsApp Web interface enabled the malicious vCard to open on the user's device as an executable, which could have included malware.