After mysteriously vanishing from the Windows Phone Marketplace earlier this month, popular cross-platform messenger WhatsApp has returned. It appears the app was taking a short break while its developers introduced a number of improvements, because it now has new features, and is said to be speedier than ever before.

The latest WhatApp release — version — is still free for the first year, despite rumors that claimed it would return with a $0.99 price tag — like WhatsApp on Android and iOS. It also boasts new "Search," "My Status," and "Create Group" options within the toolbar, and better, finer control over notifications. Finally, the performance improvements are said to make WhatsApp super snappy.

The only thing missing is a few emoticons, according to The Verge.

Have you used the latest version of WhatsApp for Windows Phone yet?

[via The Verge]