WhatsApp is making it easier to trial new features on Android by opening up its beta testing program on Google Play.

Up until now, the Facebook-owned messaging app has required people to manually install an .APK file directly from the WhatsApp website, but now beta testers can join the program through Google Play, which means they can install the app more easily through their Google account and receive updates when a new version is available.

WhatsApp: Beta

Above: WhatsApp: Beta

While on the surface this represents a minor refresh to the beta program, making it easier to join WhatsApp should allow developers to gain more valuable feedback and iron out bugs and flaws before they arrive in the final product.

WhatsApp recently revealed it had passed one billion monthly active users (MAUs), making it Facebook’s second service to join the billion-plus club. However, earlier in the year, WhatsApp passed one billion installations on Android alone, becoming only the second non-Google app to do so (the first being Facebook).

While it’s clear that many of those installations didn’t lultimately lead to active usage, the milestone highlighted Android’s role as a major platform for WhatsApp, particularly in new and developing markets where Android rules the roost.

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WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. WhatsApp Messenger is available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Andro... All WhatsApp news »

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