WhatsApp is now working on usernames

WhatsApp is now working on usernames

Men pose with smartphones in front of displayed Whatsapp logo in this illustration September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Meta-owned messaging platform WhatsApp is working on a feature to set up usernames, similar to its rival Telegram.

Through an upcoming update on the Google Play Beta Program, lucky beta testers of WhatsApp's version will receive the ability to choose a username, which WhatsApp describes as an added layer of privacy to users’ accounts.

“This means that instead of relying solely on phone numbers to identify contacts, users will be able to opt for a unique and memorable username: by allowing users to choose usernames,” WhatsApp Beta said in a blog post on Wednesday.

It is not yet clear how the feature will work alongside phone numbers; for instance, whether one will be able to search for any WhatsApp user through a username and contact them as is the case with Telegram.

But the blog post pointed to such a possibility, saying: “WhatsApp may offer users the ability to reach other people by entering a username within the app, without knowing their phone numbers.”

If that is the case, the feature will come in handy for business owners, whom customers will be able to contact privately while also safeguarding their phone numbers.

WhatsApp has been rolling out major updates in recent weeks, the recent being the ability to edit messages within 15 minutes of sending.

The feature announced earlier this week made the messaging platform catch up with Telegram and Signal, which already allowed users to edit messages.

Last week, WhatsApp started rolling out Chat Lock, a feature which lets users put specific chats behind a lock, making them only accessible by password or biometrics.


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