WhatsApp's public group links have been rumored for months and we've even been able to join public groups since June, but unless you had modified the app thanks to some root-only shenanigans, you couldn't issue links to any groups just yet.
Now the feature is live in version 2.16.281 of the app, which is still in beta. If you're the admin of a WhatsApp group, when you go to add a new participant to your chat, you will have a new Invite to group via link option at the top of your contacts list. Tapping it opens a new screen with the unique link to your chat, which you can share via WhatsApp (although that does defeat the purpose, nah?), copy, share via any other app, or revoke.
Hidden under the overflow menu though are two even more useful options: printing a QR code with the link to the chat and writing the link to an NFC tag.
If it's not clear to you why such a feature would be important, think of businesses or large groups like students or sports teams where you want to make it as fast as possible to add everyone to the chat. Instead of the admin having to take each person's phone number, create a contact, wait for it to appear inside WhatsApp, then manually add them to the group, they'd just have to print a QR code or write an NFC tag, or maybe email the link to everyone, and they'd be able to join instantly.
Another tiny feature has popped up as well in this beta: a quick forward button next to all shared media. All images, videos, GIFs (sigh), and links, will have a curved forward arrow next to them that make it super easy to send them to another conversation on WhatsApp. This is faster and more visible than having to tap and hold on the message, then select forward from the top bar.
Left: previous version, no quick forward icon. Right: current version, forward icon is there.
- Krishna Joshi