WhatsApp is testing stickers integration with Gboard
WhatsApp is among the most popular apps on both, iOS and Android; even surpassing Facebook’s own app in popularity globally in late 2018. While the messaging platform may not be as popular in the US, it’s popularity in the rest of the world is more than enough to offset the situation and let it come out on top.
In order to retain its popularity, the messaging platform routinely explores more ways to attract new users and keep its old ones. The Facebook-owned service has rolled out features like group video and group voice calling, Picture-in-Picture mode for YouTube, Facebook and Instagram videos, swipe to reply; and is testing out new features like Vacation Mode and Fingerprint Authentication.
Now, WhatsApp is working to improve its recently introduced Sticker functionality. The audience has grown to love this functionality, though accessing new Stickers remains a bit convoluted. By default, users have access to a few stickers that have been designed by WhatsApp themselves. To access stickers created by third-party developers, you need to separately download entire sticker packs from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
WhatsApp is planning to introduce an easier way for users to send stickers, by integrating this functionality within third-party keyboards. Stickers Integration has been enabled in WhatsApp since December 12, 2018, but the feature is not currently available in GBoard as it being utilized by Google for internal testing. A new GBoard Beta release will now offer Sticker Integration if the latest WhatsApp Beta for Android is installed alongside.
Any GBoard Static Sticker sent in WhatsApp will automatically be converted to a compatible sticker format (webp), rather than being sent as an image. This will open up another source for users to use stickers, and they need not install separate apps to send stickers. GBoard also offers Bitmoji and “Minis” (stickers customized on your look), so you’ll have more choices to express your situation and communicate in a fun and effective manner.
It is currently unknown when the feature will go live in the stable releases of WhatsApp and GBoard.