16 September 2021
UPDATE (October 15th, 2021):
WhatsApp is finally rolling out end-to-end encrypted cloud backup support for all users around the world. It is available for both Google Drive and iCloud backups meant for Android and iOS devices respectively. These backups can be secured using either a password or a 64-digit encryption key known only to you. This extra layer of security will ensure that neither WhatsApp nor cloud storage service provider can read your messages.
UPDATE (September 13th, 2021):
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, has announced that WhatsApp end-to-end encryption for cloud storage backups will start rolling out soon. It will be released for Android and iOS users which means it will work with both Google Drive and iCloud storage space respectively.
An exact release timeline is currently unknown but we will keep you posted.
Original (July 19th, 2021)
WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption is a good way to ensure that no one can spy on your conservation as you are having them but the same does not apply to cloud backups. Those can still be hacked or can be accessed by authorities after issuing relevant warrants to the cloud storage provider. This is now expected to change soon as WhatsApp has begun testing encrypted cloud backups on Android.
As spotted by WABetaInfo, it is an optional feature and will be up to the user whether to enable end-to-end encryption for WhatsApp cloud backups. The app will require users to set a password that will be needed for backup recovery. The only alternative to the forgotten password situation is the 64-digit recovery key that will be unique to your backup. If you happen to forget it as well, you will lose access to your cloud backup forever.
This is something that you should keep in mind before enabling WhatsApp cloud backup encryption. The beta testing is currently limited to select Android beta testers. It should expand to the general public and even iOS users in the near future but an exact timeline is difficult to predict.
Other than this, WhatsApp is working on a few other new features for users as well. It has started testing the ability to send "best quality" images and videos so that recipients do not receive low-resolution media content. It is further working on View Once mode and multi-device support.