5 WhatsApp features we really wish BBM had

by Muyiwa Matuluko

You can’t talk about the history of messaging apps without mentioning BBM. BBM holds the honour of not only redefining online messaging, it also inspired other now popular messaging apps. This includes WhatsApp, which with over 700 million active users is now more popular than the app which inspired it.

And it’s easy to see why – WhatsApp happens to have a couple of essential features we take for granted, which give it a better overall better User Experience than BBM. This Inside Blackberry commenter was nice enough to point them out. We have rewritten for context.

Here’s 5 WhatsApp features we wish BBM had

Super sharing capabilities

BBM has a few limitations when it comes to sharing files between contacts. Users can’t share multiple photos at once – they have to share them one after the other. WhatsApp on the other hand lets users share 10 images at time, both in group and person-person chats.

whatsapp-mulit-share
WhatsApp multi-photo share interface

BBM also has limitations in OS-wide sharing. For example, say you want to share a file from your gallery or file manager to BBM, you only have the option to share to single chats, not groups. WhatsApp will let you share both to to groups and individuals.

Easier message history management

On WhatsApp, your friends are able to select a particular message and delete it. But on BBM, to get rid of a message, you have to DELETE the whole conversation. This is perhaps a way of keeping people accountable but, users should have a choice.

One other missing essential feature this commenter failed to point out is search. On WhatsApp, you don’t have to scroll through whole conversation threads just to find some information from weeks ago – you can just search. This is impossible on BBM.

whatsapp-search
WhatsApp search feature

Persistent emoticon/smiley tray

When inserting emoticons/smileys in a message, you click on smiley icon, and pick an emoticon, and the emoticon tray closes as soon as you’ve selected a smiley. This is fine but sometimes (actually a LOT of times) people want to be able to insert multiple-emoticons. And opening emoticon tray every time is a pain.

This is not an issue on WhatsApp. The emoticon tray remains open and you can simply keep inserting emoticons until you are done.

whatsapp-emoticon-tray
WhatsApp emoticon tray

“Delivered” and “Read” status for group and multiperson chats

BBM doesn’t display D and R notifications for group messages and multiperson chat messages. WhatsApp does.

No auto status updates without user’s consent

If BBM becomes more popular (like WhatsApp has 700m users), Blackberry are going to have a huge law-suit on their hands!

If you download a sticker pack, or if you install BBM, or if you uninstall/re-install BBM, BBM automatically updates your status “I just bought XYZ sticker pack” “ABC just joined XYZ group”. These status updates are WITHOUT user’s consent and there is no way to opt-out of them. Right thing to do, ethical thing to do, is to allow user to OPT-OUT of such forced status updates.

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