WhatsApp stickers have been quite popular ever since their introduction in October last year. But for improved usability, keyboard integration is a hotly requested feature addition. Now, according to a WhatsApp beta tracker, the keyboard integration of WhatsApp stickers via Google's Gboard has been available in the Android app since December but is not yet available to users. Gboard is reported to be the first keyboard whose stickers will be integrated within WhatsApp. However, other keyboard apps are also likely to come on board shortly. The purpose of the new development is to essentially make a large number of stickers available for sharing on WhatsApp.
WABetaInfo reports WhatsApp for Android has had the integration of keyboard stickers since December 12, but the functionality isn't available with Gboard right now. It is believed that WhatsApp is waiting for Google to complete the testing on Gboard end to flip the switch. The new move will enable the chat app to automatically convert stickers available on Gboard into WhatsApp compatible sticker format WebP. It is also said that the new feature will reach other third-party keyboards over time.
At present, the stickers that you share from Gboard get converted into images on WhatsApp but as soon as WhatsApp makes the integration live for Gboard users, they will appear as proper stickers.
WhatsApp brought stickers to its platform back in October. While the app doesn't have plenty of stickers by default, it allows the users to download distinct sticker packs from the App Store and Google Play. There is also a workaround to enable individuals to create personalised stickers. However, adding the ability to add stickers from keyboards will certainly take the experience to new levels.
Particularly, Gboard has 'Minis' selfie stickers and Emojis Minis sticker packs that both bring a list of selfie sticker options on the virtual keyboard. Google had upgraded the Gboard app for Android devices with artificial intelligence (AI) backed suggestions for adding new stickers last November.
All this could make sticker sharing on WhatsApp easier and more fun. That being said, we're yet to see the official update for WhatsApp and Gboard to enable the new experience.
We discussed what WhatsApp absolutely needs to do in 2019, on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.