New WhatsApp Features & Encryption

WhatsApp has become part of every household, and more so every business. To the point that one of the biggest limiting factors is that you don’t have it installed in enough places. Yes, WhatsApp web does exist but it requires an active connection with your primary device to work properly. Well soon you will be able to log in to 4 different devices with the same account, these logins will also be standalone not requiring your primary device to be connected all the time. This is big news for people using WhatsApp for basically everything, please tell me you know at least one person who has more work chats than personal ones at this point.

So, what was the hold-up? Many apps have multiple login support so what took WhatsApp so long? Well believe it or not WhatsApp still likes to market its messaging service as ‘end-to-end encrypted’; yes I know it sounds funny after all the recent privacy scandals but apparently, it is still true. Being end-to-end encrypted makes it harder in a multi-device scenario to make sure that the messages that are being sent follow the protocols of the encryption method. E2EE messages rely on a key to be decrypted, this key is specific to the device the messages are sent from or received at. More devices mean more complication when it comes to this process. For example, one of the biggest blocker for Facebook to develop this feature was the fact that messages may get out of sync while one of the devices is powered off. 

Now details are still pending on how this feature fully works but it is doable. Telegram allows E2EE messaging for example with their secret chat feature on multiple devices also. Let’s hope the Zuck delivers this time.

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