What began as emojis, which evolved to become something more sophisticated, and extremely customizable.
Custom avatars are the representations of the users themselves, not only a portrayal of human emotions. This time, WhatsApp has started rolling out 3D avatars for its users around the globe, where the avatars can be used as profile photos or custom stickers.
Previously, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook that avatars are coming to WhatsApp, and this announcement followed a months-long beta testing.
The feature that actually made its debut on Instagram, Facebook and Messenger,.
Meta provides 36 custom stickers to reflect different emotions and actions to choose from, but users can create their own if they want.
The customization can be extreme, because WhatsApp also said that users would get style enhancements including lighting, shading and hair style textures over time.
What this means, users can literally create a digital version of themselves from billions of combinations of "diverse hair styles, facial features and outfits."
With the feature, users can create cartoony face representing their mood with clapping, winking, thinking and flooding the chat with tears.
Express yourself with avatars now on @WhatsApp. Choose from billions of combinations of hair styles , facial features and outfitsto share how you’re feeling with friends and family.https://t.co/EKWWLF0MBU
— Meta (@Meta) December 7, 2022
Meta also said that it hopes to boost both privacy and personalization.
"Sending an avatar is a fast and fun way to share feelings with friends and family," the company wrote in a blog post.
"It can also be a great way to represent yourself without using your real photo so it feels more private."
To use this feature, users just need to head to 'Settings' and choose 'Create your avatar'.
Say more with Avatars
More than a selfie and more than an emoji, it's a digital you.
Bring emotion, personality, and a little more YOU to every chat with Avatars. pic.twitter.com/89ch90kvAv
— WhatsApp (@WhatsApp) December 7, 2022
Avatars are now available on WhatsApp! Create your personalized avatar and share it as one of 36 stickers from your custom sticker pack, or use it as your profile picture as a way of representing yourself that feels more private than using a real photo. pic.twitter.com/HlG8CwDJbc
— Will Cathcart (@wcathcart) December 7, 2022
Meta has made the avatar system work across platforms.
What this means, users can create an avatar on WhatsApp, and that avatar can be used on Facebook, Instagram and others.
But ultimately, it also works on virtual reality, like Meta's Horizon Worlds.
With all major Meta products are having the 3D customizable avatar, it's a milestone for Meta because this represents the early vision of what Zuckerberg hopes will eventually lead to a metaverse where people can work and play through their own avatars.
The concept is seen as the future of the internet and would blur the lines between the physical world and the digital one.
Zuckerberg has described it as an "embodied internet."