WhatsApp is testing a new feature that will let people message without using their phone for the first time.
At present, WhatsApp is linked to a user’s phone. Its desktop and web apps need that device to be connected and receiving messages.
But the new feature will let users send and receive messages “even if your phone battery is dead”.
Up to four other devices – like PCs and tablets – can be used together, WhatsApp said.
To begin with, the new feature will be rolled out as a beta test for a “small group of users”, and the team plans to improve performance and add features before enabling it for everyone.
End-to-end encryption – a key selling point for WhatsApp – will still work under this new system, it said.
Several other messaging apps already have such a feature, including rival encrypted app Signal, which requires a phone for sign-up, but not to exchange messages.
But the feature has long been requested by WhatsApp users – of which there are a reported two billion.
Currently, most of the leading internet-based companies or online platforms have cultivated massive numbers of users and enjoy a sort of monopoly in data collection and use. There are no clear rules on data circulation and the existing laws are not enough for data’s proper utilization and curbing monopolies, she said.
According to Yi, a flexible data flow policy will help China to gain an edge in global competitiveness, especially as economies like the United States and Europe have already started to leverage their data.
The opening data index is the world’s first professional index focusing on the degree of data openness and data value released in major cities around the world. Since it was first released in 2019, it has become a “barometer” to global cities on data opening.