It looks like messaging app WhatsApp has a lot in the pipeline at the moment. This month alone we saw reports of the Meta subsidiary working on letting you hide your online status, reacting to messages using emojis, and using voice notes for status updates. Though as WABetaInfo points out, it’s time to add another one to the list, which is Avatars.
According to the WABetaInfo report, you “may be able to use an avatar as a mask while placing video calls”, as well as using one as a sticker. The devs behind the app is working on a new section within the app to introduce the feature, a screenshot of which the site has seen.
And from the screenshot, it looks like WhatsApp avatars will be pretty similar to what Facebook previously introduced a few years ago. As in, they have the same 3D cartoon aesthetic to them. Details are understandably scarce at the moment, but chances are you create them in WhatsApp the same way you do on Facebook. Which is to say, you pick out elements of your avatar from scratch, from skin tone and hairstyle to clothing options. Considering the similarities, the ability to turn on the front facing camera so that you get a pseudo-mirror may also be present.
For now, this feature is still under development, so it will be awhile before it is something that you can use on WhatsApp. It may also be possible that the feature will be released in two parts. The ability to use these avatars as stickers, which on the surface looks to be the simpler part of the feature, may well be released first.
Then, further down the line, the app will release the ability to use your avatar as a video call mask. Though it does feel a little redundant to want to use an avatar as a surrogate if you’ve made it to look like you to begin with.