Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates

WhatsApp replacing numbers with usernames, introducing expiring groups and more

If you live in Zimbabwe and are reading this, you are a WhatsApp user. I can also bet all I own that you are in a number of groups on that platform. Some groups you enjoy and some you can’t leave because you’re a coward, lying to yourself that you’re trying to spare feelings. Whatever […]

This is what Zimbabweans do on the internet when they are not on WhatsApp

There was a time when the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) used to break down the internet usage stats they release in their sector reports. From that data, we found out that WhatsApp accounted for close to half of all internet usage in the country. The dominance of WhatsApp is going to […]

WhatsApp becomes a note taking app, working to allow sending photos in OG quality

I’m still a bit surprised that WhatsApp won the messaging battle. It wasn’t my pick back then but its simplicity won it favour with the masses and it’s now the default messaging app. In Zimbabwe it is not only the default messaging app, it’s also pretty much the internet. For many people it is where […]

WhatsApp new features, Proxy to go around social media blackouts, and more

WhatsApp has been adding quite a number of new features to the app. Starting with the most relatable one which is Proxy. It’s available on the latest versions of WhatsApp on both iOS and Android. It’s also there in WhatsApp Business if anyone was curious. WhatsApp Proxy – Use the app even if it’s blocked […]

Thinking of asking the Ministry of Finance some questions? They gave us their number

I’m not going to lie these are interesting times. Just last week the RBZ was crowdsourcing thoughts and ideas on a Central Bank Digital Currency that they are working on. Now the top office that is the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has shared its WhatsApp contact numbers that anyone can use to reach […]

WhatsApp adds polls and communities. I have some thoughts.

WhatsApp has been busy these past couple of months adding feature after feature to the chat app. They are all pretty interesting with the latest ones being Polls, Communities, and Avatars. So are they any good? Polls Polls are pretty much a way of data collection on whatever topic you desire. The data will come […]

It’s not your phone or your network provider, WhatsApp is down worldwide

WhatsApp is down for many people across the globe. It all started around 9:00 am CAT, many people started reporting that they could not send messages, see statuses etc. On WhatsApp web and the desktop app, I am stuck on a ‘Connecting to WhatsApp, Make sure your computer has an active Internet connection.’ Many more […]

WhatsApp is down. Again! [Updated]

At approximately 9.20 am in Zimbabwe, WhatsApp went down. The cause of the outage is still yet to be announced but with VPNs failing to connect it seems that it’s a WhatsApp failing to connect to the server. The outage seems to be global and a Meta spokesperson managed to give Reuters a statement that […]

WhatsApp bringing multi-device support to mobile devices

A lot of features have been added to WhatsApp and it’s also been a while since we dived into them. This is a complete rundown of all the more interesting ones. Multiple device support coming to mobile devices At the moment you can set up your account on up to 5 different devices running the […]

New EcoCash Assistant on WhatsApp allows you to transact and resolve common issues, simple but could be great

We have had EcoCash for what seems like an eternity now. As it has matured we have come to expect less and less in the way of innovations. That’s exactly what we expect to see when it comes to services and products we have been using for over a decade. We are so used to […]

Local startup takes on movie recommendations via WhatsApp

When it comes to entertainment we have an embarrassment of options these days. Want to listen to music? You have access to a catalogue you cannot run through in many lifetimes. Want to watch television, you’re just as spoilt. There are so many movies out there you couldn’t possibly watch them all even if you […]

WhatsApp improving group chats with ‘group of groups’ called Communities

WhatApp is just an instant messaging app but it feels like much more in Zimbabwe. We use it for way more than just that. It is an e-commerce platform, news and other content distribution channel, dating app, customer service channel and more to us. The problem with using a product/service for something it wasn’t meant […]

Right now it is easy to track you through WhatsApp, that is being rectified

Love or hate it, if you’re reading this, you probably use WhatsApp as your main chat app. The masses decided and there will be no convincing the over 2 billion users to switch allegiances. So, since we’re stuck with Zuckerberg’s app, it’s refreshing to see the improvements being made. By now we all know that […]

Please uninstall FM WhatsApp right now, and consider ditching GB WhatsApp too

I know the WhatsApp situation sucks. The official application is adequate, rocking a pleasing design with a beautiful dark mode. However, the fact remains that the official app is often slow to add exciting features – for example, to this day the disappearing messages feature is severely limited. I do not know why the WhatsApp […]

You may soon be able to hit pause while recording a WhatsApp voice note

The feature that I am sure many have been waiting for has finally hit the WhatsApp beta program. According to WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is working on allowing you to pause while you are recording a voice note. The pause function in beta seems to be available only to a select few testers on iOS. However, if […]

Meta launches tool to help African SMEs grow their businesses on WhatsApp, Facebook & Instagram

Meta (formerly known as Facebook) has announced the launch of Facebook Business Coach, an innovative and easily-accessible way for owners of small-and-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya and other English speaking countries to learn more about how to grow their business online with Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.  The Facebook Business Coach available on WhatsApp, is […]

Want to delete a message you sent a year ago? WhatsApp working on it

This is one of the things that annoys me about WhatsApp. They take too long to give us some of the nifty little peace of mind features we want. They were late to give us the ability to delete the messages we had already sent. And when they did allow us to ‘Delete for everyone,’ […]

WhatsApp testing business directory (yellow pages). This will be a big deal.

The younger amongst us will have no idea what ‘yellow pages’ means. Let’s get everyone on the same page first. The telephone directory For those of us who grew up in the 90s, there was a magical book called the telephone directory. This book had the landline number of every single person in the country, […]

Find contact details for any local business on WhatsApp via Wire Business Directory

A local business consultancy firm called Qurious Consulting Pvt Ltd is looking to end the time-honoured tradition of bothering your friends and loved ones in the event that you need a plumber, mechanic or any other service. The company launched Wire, a business directory chatbot on WhatsApp that registers and catalogues local businesses and operators […]

WhatsApp is testing end-to-end encrypted chat backups

Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp has announced in a blog post that it is planning to give its users the option to protect their chats using end-to-end encryption. What this essentially means is that the same technology that protects your chats from being read by anyone other than the sender or receiver will now be available […]

WhatsApp is finally working on turning voice notes into text

WhatsApp is finally working on voice note transcriptions according to a report by WABetaInfo. This is a welcome development because although you can technically do this via a third-party app, it’s usually a faff. An example of just how tedious it can be is if you’ve ever used an app called Transcribe. To turn voice […]

A report shows Facebook can read your WhatsApp messages

One of WhatsApp’s most touted features is end-to-end encryption. It is often claimed that WhatsApp messages are encrypted at the source and only decrypted once they reach their destination and that Facebook themselves cannot see what you and the person on the other end are talking about. This has put Facebook at odds with various […]

WhatsApp may soon allow you to hide your last seen from individual contacts

WhatsApp has provided us with a few ways to mask our activity on the app. If you don’t want people to see that you have opened their message then you can simply disable the blue checkmark. Some prefer not to have their statuses viewed by certain contacts (for a range of reasons) and the app […]

Selling on social media? Don’t frustrate customers, display your prices

To say Zimbabweans have responded well to the pressures of the pandemic would be an understatement. The adoption of online stores, sellers peddling their wares on social media and WhatsApp are fantastic examples of how adaptable Zimbos are. On top of that, we have seen a number of new e-commerce marketplaces that have sprung up […]

EU slaps WhatsApp with a multi-million dollar fine for violating GDPR

Facebook-owned chat app, WhatsApp has been asked by the Irish Data Protection Commission to pay a fine of €225m or roughly US$193 million for violating the provisions of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. It’s kind of hard not to feel like this was long overdue given how Facebook and WhatsApp have been mishandling […]

WhatsApp in a big u-turn, you are no longer required to accept its controversial new terms

This year Facebook-owned chat app WhatsApp started on a very controversial note. In a storm of their own making, they issued, out of the blue, a terse demand asking users to agree to new draconian terms of service. That was unusual enough, what was even more unusual was the threat that those who wouldn’t agree […]

Soon you will be able to appeal your ban from within WhatsApp

It has never happened to me but from time to time WhatsApp hands out a ban for perceived violations of its terms and services. Usually, it’s something that just happens and those punished really have no idea what prompted the ban. Even worse, until now it was not easy to appeal this ban or even […]

WhatsApp is finally getting message reactions

WhatsApp is the world’s most popular messaging app so it’s hard not to always wonder if it’s really the best messaging app when it comes to features. Often in, my book at least, it falls short in comparison to apps such as Instagram, Discord and even Telegram. One feature that it sorely needs is multi-device […]

IPEC says Lobola Assurance is not registered with them

The Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC) has issued a statement over a Lobola Assurance banner that is doing rounds on social media especially WhatsApp. The banner claims to be from a company that calls itself Lobola Assurance and shows various packages which start from US$1.99 per month up to $19.99 per month. There was a […]

WhatsApp is finally coming to iPads thanks to multidevice support

According to the esteemed source of all things WhatsApp-WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is finally coming to iPads. If you are an Android user like me it’s hard to contain the shock. It seems incomprehensible but it’s true, currently, the only way to run WhatsApp on an iPad is via the WhatsApp web. This means you will need […]