As explained by NPE:
"2020 has been hard, and we’ve heard from many people using Whale that funny memes brought them much-needed smiles. With this new release, Whale aims to bring even more humor to your fingertips. Today, we’re adding private meme groups, support for GIF memes, and new top meme templates. We’re also working with some of your favorite meme creators to supercharge Whale’s creation experience."
As you can see in the above screenshots, there are new, simplified creation tools, groups, updated discovery features and more. The new features build on the first major Whale update which was launched in April this year.
According to Whale, its early testers have said that the app's creative tools are "the easiest they’ve used, including our GIF memes, library of top templates". That could provide a point of differentiation for the app, and through Facebook's acquisition of GIPHY, the team behind Whale now also has access to a range of top meme creators, which will enable it to tap into their popularity to not only create new tools, but also to get the word out among their fans and followers.
And while Facebook hasn't provided any additional info on Whale usage, it's the first of Facebook's NPE apps that's seen any major updates, which likely suggests that it is indeed generating interest.
Groups could also be an interesting element - in November last year, tech commentator Josh Constine noted the distinct lack of dedicated meme-sharing social networks, which may be a gap in the market.
Whale is not that exactly, but meme groups, linked to Whale's meme creation tools, could be another step in this direction, which may see it gain traction, again boosted by incorporating ideas from popular creators.
It'll be interesting to see if Whale does gain any real momentum. Thus far, it's seemed like Facebook's NPE team wasn't really focused on creating the next big thing, but more just chucking ideas out there to see what happens next. Whale seems like it has the most potential of the ten or so apps NPE has released thus far, and while it may not become the next TikTok, the rising popularity of Reddit, which, for most users, is largely a feed of the latest memes, could point to it having more mainstream potential within Facebook's packaging.
Whale is currently only available on iOS in the US and Canada