WhatsApp is working on adding end-to-end encryption to its chats along with a deeper Facebook integration, according to leaked screenshots shared on Google Plus by Android developer Javier Santos.
WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum had spoken about implementing the end-to-end encryption earlier this month, at the annual Digital-Life-Design (DLD) conference in Munich. Koum had said, “We are a couple of months away from calling it done. Soon we will be able to talk more about this.”
The new leaked screenshots indicate that the end-to-end encryption will apply to messages and calls, and users will have to turn on the feature in the setting. The end-to-end encrypted messages can’t be read by anyone, including WhatsApp. The private chat feature will be similar to what apps like Telegram, etc offer with their private chat mode.
WhatsApps calls, chat are currently encrypted, but end-to-end encryption ensures device-level security.
Santos also shared screenshots of WhatsApp and Facebook getting integrated. According to the picture, the feature will share WhatsApp account info with Facebook, in order to improve Facebook experiences. For now, the integration feature looks optional.
Facebook bought WhatsApp in February 2014 for nearly $19 billion, in one of the biggest tech deals in history. Currently users can sync their Facebook and WhatsApp account as well, but it’s not clear how the new feature will be different.
WhatsApp recently announced that it will stop charging the $1 annual subscription fee as that option has not really worked well. WhatsApp said that while it won’t go for third-party ads, it will start testing tools to allow users to communicate with “businesses and organisations” on the app. The feature could be similar to the ‘Channels one’ in BlackBerry Messenger.
WhatsApp says the communications could be with a bank about a transaction or with an airline about delayed flights. Essentially WhatsApp is looking at becoming a platform for the kind of alerts, messages that normally come via SMS from organisations.
Earlier leaks also indicated that WhatsApp is working on a new video-calling feature as well.