NEW YORK (AP) -- In a nod to its past as well as its future, WhatsApp is adding a "status" feature that lets users tell their contacts what they are up to.
It's not a new idea — WhatsApp started out as a way for people to let their friends know what they are up to — at work or available, for example. Messaging, now the app's main function, was added later.
But it's also a sign that the Facebook-owned app is expanding the amount of features it has, just as Instagram, another Facebook subsidiary, has been doing over the years.
Users will be able to post photos or videos as status updates.
WhatsApp says the status posts will be end-to-end encrypted , just as its messages are. That means only the parties who are communicating can see the messages, not an outside party or even WhatsApp.
But the company sees status as a way to "share moments with all your contacts — not just with individuals or groups." Updates will expire after 24 hours. There is a privacy setting allowing users to control who sees the updates.
WhatsApp has more than 1 billion users. The company says its users spend more than 50 billion messages each day, including 3.3 billion photos, 760 million videos and 80 million GIFs — the animated images that make many popular internet memes.