Gadgets & apps

This article was published on March 7, 2022

WhatsApp’s upcoming polls feature will be way more useful than you think

Finally catching up to Telegram


WhatsApp’s upcoming polls feature will be way more useful than you think Image by: The Blue Diamond Gallery
Ivan Mehta
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Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

These days, polls seem to be everywhere. Hell, you just need to check out our Twitter account to see how much we love them.

But there’s one place polls don’t exist: WhatsApp.

Well, this won’t be for much longer. According to a report by WABetaInfo, the company is working on a polls feature for groups. As per the screenshot in the report (and below), the function is still in its early stages, and we don’t have many details about what it’ll look like.

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The screenshot doesn't tell us much about the poll feature apart from a confirmation that's it's coming soon. Credit: WABetaInfo
The screenshot doesn’t tell us much about the poll feature apart from a confirmation that’s it’s coming soon. Credit: WABetaInfo

At first, you may think this is pointless. Who the hell needs a poll in a group chat? Just ask a damn question and let people answer normally.

But there’s a huge amount of uses for the feature. Think about choosing a time to meet, suggesting pet names, or even deciding on the next movie you want to watch.

Or, in community groups, you can easily decide meeting dates, vote on specific decisions, or any other number of organizational points.

I am a part of a meme-sharing group, and we change our group name every 15 days. I’d definitely want to use the upcoming polls feature for that.

And while polls won’t be a must-have (like linking multiple devices to one account), it would still make WhatsApp far more usable for swathes of people.

In fact, it’s odd we’ve come this far without polls being released.

Telegram has had the feature for years. It overhauled its poll system at the start of 2020, including things like visible or anonymous votes with a single choice, multiple-choice options, and quizzes. I’ve already seen admins of channels asking questions to their readers about their favorite apps or the next topic they’d like to read about.

Telegram lets you create polls with multi-choice answers
Telegram lets you create polls with multi-choice answers.

To follow the Ukraine-Russia situation, I’ve joined a bunch of new Telegram Channels, and often people create polls about what services are not working in their area. That’s a quick way to gauge disruption.

Signal, another messaging competitor, doesn’t have a polls feature yet, but you can create a makeshift solution with emoji reactions — another feature WhatsApp is working on.

Given the Meta-owned company has more than two billion users it’s a surprise it hasn’t introduced more messaging features. Still, while polls might sound old hat, they’re likely to be a big hit when they’re finally rolled out.

We’ll keep an eye on the feature’s release and write about how to use it in our Basics section. Happy voting, people.

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