WhatsApp has brought its new image doodling feature from the beta version of its chat app to the pubic Android release, with iOS support coming soon. The feature, which lets you perform Snapchat-style drawing on top of images and videos you send in WhatsApp, was first introduced in a testing phase back in early September. Alongside doodling, today's app update also lets users drop emojis and colored text on top of images, front-facing flash support, and a zoom option for video recording.
Facebook and has been steadily borrowing Snapchat’s hallmark features for many months now, most recently copying Snapchat’s stories feature and introducing it on Instagram. It’s no surprise that CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who once offered Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel a few billion dollars to acquire his startup, is worried about rising competition in the mobile messaging space.
While both Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp both have more than 1 billion monthly active users, far more than Snapchat, Spiegel's company still poses a kind of existential threat. That’s both because of Snapchat’s growth and the company’s philosophy of sharing rougher, on-the-spot images and videos not designed for posterity — in other words, content that won’t live on in Facebook’s collective memory. In turn, Facebook has been forced to introduce features more popular with younger smartphone owners, even as they go against its more traditional aesthetics. Key among those additions have been doodling, text, and emoji editing tools, which are now a mainstay in pretty much every messaging app available.