Over the last few months, WhatsApp has been testing the ability to backup messages and shared multimedia files on cloud storage solution Google Drive on and off. The feature appeared and disappeared in dramatic fashion. Finally, it looks like WhatsApp is ready to let its 900 million strong user base be able to keep secure backups of their chats in the cloud for easy restoration when activating the service on new devices and in case of certain situations like say theft.
Up to this moment, WhatsApp has always backed up chats locally instead of uploading them onto its servers like rival Telegram and others do. This, it insists, is to make sure that the user has total control over their conversations and that their privacy is guaranteed. So much that even its WhatsApp Web functionality is reliant on a mobile device being connected to the internet so as to be able to mirror content on the mobile application to the desktop web browser.
However, even as it insists on placing user privacy and trust first, there has been increasing need to provide users with an option to safely have their chats tucked away somewhere safe where they can easily restore them incase anything happens to their device. This has led to several users like yours truly resorting to using third party solutions like Folder Sync and DropSync that allow users to sync specific local folders on their devices with their cloud storage service of choice like say Dropbox.
The version of the WhatsApp application that has Google Drive backup as an option in the chat settings is yet to hit the Google Play Store and anyone interested can find it on the WhatsApp website or APK Mirror