TechNews: Facebook secretly building new WhatsApp rival that lets you text pals and track their locations

Facebook is creating a new WhatsApp and Snapchat rival messaging platform called Threads. The tech giant is currently working on the app, which will be a companion to Instagram and enable users to share location data and statuses with friends.

According to The Verge, the app will revolve around the "close friends" list feature on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

Currently, users can share Instagram Stories to a select list of friends that they pick out themselves.
However, Threads will reportedly invite users to automatically share information like their location, battery life and speed with friends as well as the standard text, photo and video messages.

Sharing location data, battery life and speed are all features commonly associated with Snapchat.

The new app is reportedly being tested internally at Facebook.

Some of the features on the new app have been revealed by illustrated screenshots obtained by the media.

The illustration shows a simple list of automatic status updates that say things like "Free", "Busy" or "Bored" but statuses could also be updated manually.

WhatsApp, which is also owned by Facebook, already has a similar simple status feature.

Threads is expected to be more like current Instagram messaging just with all these new features.
It is unclear when Threads will be publicly launched.

We reached out to Instagram for comment but they declined.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Facebook would be merging the messaging part of its Messenger app with both WhatsApp and Instagram.

The project is believed to involve "thousands of Facebook employees" working to merge the apps together.

Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram, will still exist as standalone apps however – but their messaging services will become one unified system.(Thesunuk)

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