WhatsApp, the messaging app owned by Facebook, is gearing up to add fingerprint scanning for Android devices.
According to a report in Money Control, the launch of the new feature, which is aimed at boosting privacy for users, will require users to authenticate their identity to unlock the device. The report noted that the feature was spotted in WhatsApp's beta version for Android 2.19.3 update. As it stands, users of WhatsApp have to use third-party apps to secure their accounts. The fingerprint security feature will reportedly only be used to unlock the WhatsApp app and not for anything inside the messaging app.
In addition to fingerprint scanning, in late December Bloomberg reported that Facebook is looking to create a digital token to help WhatsApp users transfer money. Sources told the outlet that the company is working on a stablecoin, or one that is tied to the value of the U.S. dollar, and is setting its sights on the remittance market in India. It's not surprising that WhatsApp would focus on India with a digital token, given that the country is one of the app’s largest markets with 210 million monthly users. Last year, the company began testing WhatsApp Pay with around one million users and has processed one million transactions per month since then.
At the same time that WhatsApp is adding more security to its messaging app, its rival Tencent is gearing up to launch a voice-activated digital assistant for WeChat. Earlier this week, a Bloomberg report cited WeChat Executive Zhou Jie as saying that the digital assistant, called Xiaowei, will work with Tencent services and will be able to conduct tasks, including playing music and getting a ride.