The world’s most popular instant messaging app – WhatsApp – just got a minor update that many users would be happy about. WhatsApp has now updated its app to support more than 100 members within a group. The app now allows for up to 256 members to be added to a WhatsApp group. And while casual users will be happy, there are others who would be happy with this news as well.

Seems like WhatsApp is giving its users (or group admins) more reasons to stick around on its platform. While this is not a big deal for many (apart from the fact that group conversations will now get more meaningless), there is this other group of people that are currently using WhatsApp as a platform to run their business.

Users and admins are selling everything from outfits to accessories and even using the same for advertising down to carpooling groups and more. WhatsApp groups have grown in number and an additional 156 group members seems to make the deal even sweeter for such group admins.

But while group admins are running their business using WhatsApp, the increase in the group member limit could be a sign of times to come.

Facebook could be ramping up plans for WhatsApp since acquiring it. The social network earlier made public that it would cancel the fee but had plans to make money off it by allowing businesses and organisations to communicate with users.

So increasing the number of group members could be a first step just to test out the waters as to how operations would scale. Also 256 being an odd figure (why not 300?) indicates that WhatsApp could be testing out the feature with its available infrastructure; so yes this number could increase soon.

WhatsApp could be in a position to introduce even more members to a group for an additional cost since the messaging app is a lot more popular than others. It was just recently that we heard that WhatsApp crossed the 1 billion users milestone with 42 billion messages exchanged daily so this does not sound like a distant dream indeed. This would benefit those group admins who run their businesses using Whatsapp.

Oddly, many such admins could already be working with the current 100 group member limit by creating multiple groups (different groups for different areas or zones). Moreover, there are mods or hacks available for rooted Android devices that will give admins a group limit of up to 1000 members.

Since conversations in larger groups tend to get cluttered, meaningless and hard to keep a track off, organisations use Slack to segregate conversations by tags. We’re pretty sure that keeping a tab on the conversations with just 100 group members is a task (or a headache depending on whether you have been forced into or not) so the complexity of chatting up with 256 or even a thousand will not make much sense.

Still then this is something that WhatsApp could really tap into, like a feature to tag users in its conversations wherein tagging actually prompts a particular user with a notification. This could simply be adding an ‘@’ sign in the message followed by the user’s name something that Facebook already follows.

So much speculation surely hints that Facebook is indeed up to something with WhatsApp. But for now it is all about when these ideas go into play as WhatsApp’s user base keeps growing, but Facebook has yet to take it first step to make some money of its acquisition.

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