The first changes will come into effect in the next updates in March 2024.
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If you’re like me, having more than one messaging app, surely this news will resonate with you and brighten your day. I’m a big, and I mean a huge fan of Telegram; it’s my favorite messaging app by far. But… What’s the problem? Its user base in my country is minuscule compared to WhatsApp. At the end of the day, one has to choose between sticking to one app or working with several apps, and given Meta’s service influence, WhatsApp tends to win.
The thing is, this problem is finally coming to an end, and soon we’ll have the possibility to use interoperability between apps. This, which may seem like a strange term at first, is something very practical and useful for everyone.
Interoperability, blessed interoperability
Let’s see how this whole thing benefits us and where it comes from. Everything happens after the new legislation from the European Union with the Digital Markets Act. The EU member countries agreed to amend the legal text that forces “gatekeepers” of data to allow their services to be interoperable. Apple and its iMessage were the first to face the setback, but now the rest of the messaging apps will follow.
There’s no official list of apps obliged to go for interoperability, but based on market figures, we can estimate that at least these will be the ones included:
- Facebook Messenger.
- Google Chat.
How do “Third party chats” work?
All this sounds good on paper, but what can we do when the so-called Third Party Chats have been opened? Basically, we’ll have a section within our chats where we’ll see chats from third-party services. For example, a chat with a Telegram or Google Chat contact. In that chat, we can send and receive messages, and at least have the basic functions of a chat. However, say goodbye to the benefits of each client; for example, it’s unlikely that Telegram stickers will appear in WhatsApp, or that you can share files directly from Drive in the style of Google Chat. The same goes for certain emojis and more.
To address this issue, WhatsApp will document the service architecture so that third parties can leverage it and connect their services there. In the words of Dick Brouwer, WhatsApp’s Director of Engineering:
There is a real tension between providing an easy way to offer this interoperability to third parties and, at the same time, preserving the level of privacy, security, and integrity of WhatsApp
A solution built on WhatsApp’s current client-server architecture. This effectively means that the approach we are trying to take is for WhatsApp to document our client-server protocol and allow third-party clients to connect directly to our infrastructure.
The client will see a new menu within the application that will allow them to connect with third-party services. That is, the user will have complete freedom to decide whether to apply this or not.
In case you were wondering, cross-platform chats will still have end-to-end encryption. All this will be possible in applications that offer support for RCS. For now, initial support will be available for messages only; later, images, videos, files, and eventually group chats and video calls will follow.
Note: This content has been translated with an artificial intelligence tool, so the translation may be slightly inaccurate. The original version written by our editor is the the Spanish version