WhatsApp is admittedly a bit late to the sticker game. Other apps such as Facebook Messenger, KakaoTalk, and LINE have long offered its users stickers. However it seems that the Facebook-owned company might have found a way to quickly spread its stickers and that is by integrating it with third-party keyboard apps.
According to a report from WABetaInfo, it appears that WhatsApp will be integrating its stickers with Google’s Gboard keyboard app. Since Gboard already has a Stickers Panel to allow users to send stickers to their contacts while chatting with them, the integration of WhatsApp stickers means that users will be able to pull stickers from their WhatsApp sticker collections.
At the moment the ability to send stickers through WhatsApp does seem a bit confusing as the feature is not immediately obvious. It is also not particularly intuitive either since you’ll have to search for the sticker you want, versus other apps such as LINE that can suggest stickers based on the word you type.
It is also reported that the integration with Gboard means that Gboard users can send Google’s own stickers through WhatsApp which will be converted to be compatible. At the moment it seems that the feature is currently being tested internally at Google, but it is possible that other third-party keyboards could get the feature in the future as well.