Facebook is increasingly looking at a tighter integration with all of its services, including WhatsApp. The first step towards it is telling people that services like WhatsApp are from Facebook, and that is happening now with WhatsApp Beta 2.19.228.
A few weeks ago we heard that Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, is moving to change the branding for the chat app as well as Instagram. The names for two services would be changed to "WhatsApp By Facebook" and "Instagram By Facebook",noted reports. The new branding is now starting to appear. Reports, including some from users on Twitter, show that with the beta variant 2.19.228 WhatsApp is no longer simple WhatsApp. It's now called WhatsApp by Facebook.
Given that currently the change is part of beta version of WhatsApp, most users can expect it to see it in the next update to their regular WhatsApp. The business variant of the app will be called -- obviously -- WhatsApp Business By Facebook.
This change in the branding will not have any bearing on the current WhatsApp experience. It's just name change. But it is also significant because it hints at bigger changes in future, changes that will have effect on the WhatsApp experience. We had earlier heard that Facebook was hoping to integrate all of its chat services - WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram Messaging, on a common chat platform. The interface will, apparently, not change. But the integration is likely aimed at allowing users of the three chat services to talk to each other without requiring a separate account.
So, for example, if you use Facebook Messenger and want to talk to someone who uses only WhatsApp, you will be likely be able to do so once the integration happens. It is possible that before such integration, by changing the name of WhatsApp to WhatsApp By Facebook, the tech giant is hoping to familiarise people with the idea of integration between all Facebook services.
The integration was confirmed by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier in January. Zuckerberg had said at that time during a conference call while discussing company's quarterly results, "The integration that we're thinking about, we're really early in thinking through this... There's a lot more we need to figure out."
Zuckerberg had said that such integration will likely reach WhatsApp and Facebook users in 2020. Now that we are close to 2020, WhatsApp By Facebook is a clear indication that the company is moving towards such integration.
Of late, WhatsApp By Facebook is not the only change that has been noticed in the WhatsApp beta. The chat app is also getting a new security feature that will let users hide their WhatsApp chats. This feature will allow users to lock WhatsApp behind the fingerprint sensor on supported phones. So for example, if you someone has your unlocked phone, they will not be able to open WhatsApp or read your chats unless they also unlock the app using the fingerprint sensor. This is similar to how some banking apps use fingerprint sensor in phones to lock access.