WhatsApp’s latest beta for Android reveals that the company is working on a ‘search by username’ feature. WABetaInfo, which regularly tracks the progress of in development WhatsApp features, spotted the new change in WhatsApp beta for Android 188.8.131.52, adding that the feature in development isn’t yet available to beta testers.
The instant messaging app has been working on the ability to add usernames for a while now. It will allow users to pick custom usernames to add an extra layer of privacy as they won’t have to reveal their phone numbers.
WhatsApp currently lets users find other people by typing their phone numbers in the search bar. As per a screenshot shared by the website, the ‘search by username’ feature will let people use the search bar to find other people by typing their usernames.
📝 WhatsApp beta for Android 184.108.40.206: what's new?
— WABetaInfo (@WABetaInfo) December 1, 2023
The first mentions of usernames coming to WhatsApp were spotted back in May this year, however, there is no official word on when it will arrive on the stable version of the app. WABetaInfo notes that it will be up to a user whether they want to set a username for their WhatsApp account or not.
This works similarly to the rival messaging app Telegram which also lets its users pick a custom username and delete it later. Telegram introduced usernames back in December 2022 and it also lets the users sign up without a phone number.
WhatsApp primarily relied on phone numbers to connect users since its inception. It added more options over the years, for instance, allowing users to perform two-step verification using their email addresses.
The Meta-owned messaging platform is testing several other features, including an AI chatbot button, search messages by date, video rewind and forward, revamped user interface, etc. On the stable version, it recently introduced voice chats, multiple accounts, HD videos, and more.