Google, WhatsApp integration lets users back up messages on Android

New capability saves photos, videos, messages and more to Google Drive

WhatsApp users on Android will soon be able to rest easy with the knowledge that their messages have been backed up to Google’s cloud, thanks to a new integration between the two companies announced Wednesday. 

People who use the popular, Facebook-owned messaging app will be able to connect it to their Google Drive accounts and use that to store a backup of all the messages, photos, voice messages and videos that they've sent back and forth with their friends. Users will be able to choose to back up their data on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, and can choose to exclude videos from the backup if they have too many. 

Once they have a backup set up, users can then use it to restore their data on a new Android phone, or the same one they already own in the event they had to erase and restore it. 

Drive is the native cloud storage experience for people running Google-flavored Android, so it makes sense for WhatsApp to use it for cloud backup. It is interesting that the company isn't using its parent company Facebook's infrastructure to back up user data, though.

The announcement will bring WhatsApp for Android closer to the messaging service's iOS app, which uses Apple's iCloud storage for similar functionality. For people who are concerned about Google's collection of users' data, the company has said that it doesn't use people's data stored in Drive to serve and personalize ads. Furthermore, the WhatsApp messages are encrypted, and opaque to Google. 

The backup capabilities will be rolling out over the next few months, and will appear in users' WhatsApp settings when available. 

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