A new feature of WhatsApp that lets you back up all your content from the messaging app to Google Drive has been in testing for many months now. It worked for some people on certain versions of WhatsApp back in April, for example, but not everyone got this ability enabled. Now it turns out that those who did may have either used beta versions of the messenger, or were simply lucky to be randomly selected to test this feature.
That's because WhatsApp content backup to Google Drive only (finally) became official today. What's even stranger is that this has happened through an announcement by Google, not WhatsApp - and not Facebook, the owner of the messenger.
Anyway, as you'd expect the feature lets you back up all of your WhatsApp content to Google's cloud service. So when you change your phone you'll be able to pull all your past chats from Google Drive and use WhatsApp as you did on the old device. For an online service, this is one thing that has surely been missed so far.
You can choose whether the backups should contain videos, but chat history, voice messages, and photos are always included. You pick the frequency from daily, weekly, or monthly. Oh, and there's a "never" setting too in case you simply don't want to back anything up.
Unfortunately the rollout for this is expected to take several months for whatever reason. So we may be well into 2016 when you can finally take advantage of the backup option, depending on how lucky you are (or aren't).