WhatsApp for years has been releasing new version of the app via its website
as well as signed APK files before the release hits the Google Play store. This allowed WhatsApp to make required changes as well as fix bugs, if any, in the app ahead of a broader availability. One of the biggest disadvantages of the process was the new WhatsApp
version only reached limited users who checked website and were devoted enough to download the release from an "untrusted source."
The Facebook-owned company has launched official beta testing program through Google Play to expand the availability of app to more testers. Android Police reports that the official Android beta testing program of WhatsApp doesn't require any user to join any Google+ community or Groups in order to participate in testing. This will not only help WhatsApp in rolling out updates to testers automatically but will also reduce the additional work to download a new version from the company site or APK hosting site.
The official WhatsApp testing page requires users to sign in via their Google accounts. On opening the page, a message shows up saying, "WhatsApp Inc. has invited you to a testing programme for an unreleased version of the WhatsApp Messenger app." WhatsApp also warns users that considering WhatsApp Messenger app is a testing version it may be "unstable or have a few bugs."
A WhatsApp spokesperson confirmed the program to TechCrunch but declined to share additional details.
Earlier this month, the messaging service WhatsApp announced that it now had 1 billion monthly active users. The company added that it handled 42 billion messages sent per day, 1.6 billion photos shared per day, 1 billion total groups, and 250 million videos shared per day.