WhatsApp is adding opt-in biometrics to its web and desktop versions – TechCrunch

WhatsApp is getting popular messaging app with over 2 billion users Too hot And Losing users After making an announcement in recent weeks (and then delaying) it changes how it shares data with its owner Facebook. And this has not been done with a way to reduce privacy and security. Now, it is adding a new biometric feature to the service to bring a new authentication layer for those using its web and desktop versions.

The company said that from today, it will allow people to add WhatsApp to a fingerprint, face, or iris scan to use WhatsApp on the desktop or the web.

This feature is coming as part of a new look for desktop versions, with further hints of the company coming soon.

With the new feature, you’ll now have the option (not required) to add it to a biometric login, which uses either a fingerprint, face ID, or iris ID – depending on the device – in Android or iPhone handsets, Second layer of authentication to add to one.

When implemented, it can be paired with a mobile app account for users prior to a desktop or web version, which today relies on using only one QR code: the QR code does not go away; This is a second step that users will need to take, as you can choose to implement two steps of authentication on a handset to use the WhatsApp app today.

WhatsApp says that on the iPhone, it will work on all devices with iOS 14 and later with Touch ID or Face ID, while on Android it will work with any device compatible with biometric authentication (Face Unlock, Fingerprint Unlock or Iris Unlock). Will work on

The service in WhatsApp is another step forward to create greater feature parity between its flagship mobile apps, and how you interact with the service when you use it elsewhere.

While WhatsApp started out as a mobile messaging app, other ways of using it have been in the making for some time now. Adding desktop support to iOS version 2015.

Mobile is still responsible for the majority of WhatsApp users, but events like the global health epidemic, which are keeping more inside us, are possibly increasing the number of users of their web and native desktop apps, and so it makes sense Is there to add more features.

WhatsApp told TechCrunch that it is going to add more features this year to bring the functionality of the two closer. There are still major gaps: for example, you cannot call the WhatsApp web version. (This feature may come soon: Like last month, it Seen in beta tests.)

To be additionally clear, the biometric service, which is being commissioned globally, will be opt-in. Users will need to go to their settings to turn on the feature, just as today they need to go to their settings to turn on biometric authentication for their mobile app.

What comes next for biometrics?

WhatsApp recently announced data-sharing changes between it and Facebook, making many people aware of the company’s intentions. And this is not surprising. This is a particularly sensitive issue because messaging has been thought of as a very personal and sometimes private space, seen differently from what people do on open social networking platforms.

Over the years, that view has been erased through data leaks, group messaging misconduct and (yes) changes in privacy terms.

This means that there will be many people who doubt that Facebook’s intentions are here as well.

WhatsApp is clearly clear that it is not able to access the biometric information that you are storing in your device, and it is using the same standard biometric authentication APIs that other secure apps, such as banking apps, use. .

But the banking app parallel is notable here, and perhaps worth thinking about one more. Consider that the company is adding a lot of features and functionality to WhatsApp, including the capability Pay for goods and services, And test to offer, in markets like India Insurance and Pension Products.

Yes, this new biometric feature is being rolled out today to make it a more secure way for people to link apps across devices. But in the future, in the interest of that facility parity, it will be interesting to see how biometrics may unfold and what might happen as those other features roll out of mobile as well.