WhatsApp looks like it wants to bring rich link previews to status updates

Plaintext URLs are so… plain

The advent of rich link previews for URLs sent on modern messaging apps has made Rickrolling among other malevolent acts much harder to do. But when it comes to status updates on WhatsApp, if someone dropped a link in theirs, curious users clicking on them would have nothing but that URL and faith to go on. That might change soon, though.

WABetaInfo reports from the latest betas for various device clients that WhatsApp is working on generating rich previews for links when they’re shared as part of a text status update.

As seen from this screenshot on the iOS version, users will still see the URL in plaintext form, but it’ll be accompanied by a card with a header image (if applicable), the site title, a description, and the URL again. The preview card will only be seen by viewers if the user writing the status update allows a few seconds for it to generate, so that may mean that even if this feature were to officially roll out, not all links in status updates would receive a rich preview card — we’d generally be more wary of tapping on those, but that’s just us.

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The card generally looks the same on the desktop client, if only with a bit more room to spare.

It should be noted that the Android app already generates some form of rich preview for links in text status updates, but not as detailed as what’s seen above. It’s expected that these changes will indeed make their way to the Android side at some point down the line.

It does seem slightly odd that rich link previews haven’t been appplied to nearly every surface in which a link can appear, but we can’t forget that WhatsApp is developing and pushing features like message reactions all at the same time.


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