Along with Android 7.1 Nougat, Google added App Shortcuts for the first time. The ability to hold down on an app icon and jump to a certain portion of an app right from your home screen can be very useful. While it’s great that WhatsApp is gaining this feature, the App Shortcuts that are available are, interesting, to say the least.
App Shortcuts are available in the latest beta version of WhatsApp for Android (2.17.277), and when long-pressing on the WhatsApp app icon, you’ll now get options for the Camera, Starred Messages, and New chat. Being able to jump right into a new message from your home screen could prove to be helpful, but I’m not entirely sure about the other two options.
Accessing starred messages might be useful if you frequently save messages that you want to view later on, but the camera shortcut seems like nothing more than a way for WhatsApp to push its Snapchat Stories-like Status feature. Instead of this, I would have much rather seen WhatsApp add shortcuts to two or three of your most recent conversations.
In any case, you can give the WhatsApp App Shortcuts a try for yourself as long as you’re rocking the latest beta version of the app. It’s entirely possible that WhatsApp could change the App Shortcuts prior to their release on the stable version of the app, but for the time being, this is what we have to work with.