The latest iOS update to WeChat (6.3.29) launched yesterday adds a WeChat moments search feature. Basically this allows you to search your friend’s moments by time. The last WeChat update 6.3.28 with important changes to group management came 2 days earlier to iOS. What’s going on? Read on to answer the questions: “How does it work?” and “Why WeChat has had 2 updates in just 3 days?”
How does WeChat moments search work?
First upgrade to WeChat 6.3.29 from the app store (at the time of writing this version is only available for iOS). Once updated tap on the search bar and chose moments. Type in your friend’s name.
After selecting them you will be able to see their moments and there will be an option at the top to select based on time. Choose this and you can select to see your friend’s moments from all the way back to April 2012 when WeChat Moments was launched (WeChat Version 4.0).
There are also moments search options which allow you to see the ‘top picks of this week‘ from all your friends and also ‘music shared by your friends‘ in moments.
ChCh predicted in January that similar search features would eventually be added to WeChat (see our previous article here). WeChat is likely to continue to make significant improvements to search features as they are still pretty poor with lots of room to improve. WeChat moments search still can’t allow us to search our friend’s moments for key words. Search is also touted as being one of the main entry points for the upcoming WeChat mini apps.
2 updates in 3 days. What’s going on?
Perhaps we can find some clues from a private speech which WeChat founder Allen Zhang recently gave to the WeChat team, a transcript of which has been spreading around the China tech world like wild fire today.
Allen is popularly considered to be an internet visionary in China.
The WeChat team is now comprised of over 1,500 people! (By comparison WhatsApp famously only had 35 engineers when it was bought by Facebook in 2014.) Allen pointed out in his speech that when making a feature update WeChat follows long processes which often means waiting 2 months before launch. Even for a very small update. Allen, whose love of small agile teams is well documented, thinks things can be done much faster and stressed this to his team throughout the talk. From the speed of the new latest updates it seems someone was listening.
What does Allen’s speech really tell us?
1. New features and updates to WeChat are likely to be coming at a faster pace in the next half year.
2. The WeChat team is expanding fast. It’s clear they have made some big plans to bring WeChat far beyond where it lies today.
Another Update Coming?
Another update to WeChat is being testing on Android currently. A light version of QQ browser is baked directly into WeChat. The browser has Sogou search enabled and has several strong pushes to download the full QQ browser app (currently the market leading web browser app in China).
Screenshots above are taken from within WeChat.
You can even use the WeChat/QQ browser to check out Taobao and Tmall pages. Something that’s been banned on WeChat for a considerable time.
Left: How Taobao links usually appear on WeChat. Right: Taobao on the new test WeChat browser.
New features also include a night reading mode (see below).
Something tells us these won’t be the only changes we’ll see on WeChat in the near future.