The messaging service WhatsApp, which is owned by Meta, is developing the capability to create usernames, much like its competitor Telegram.

The option to choose a username will be made available to beta testers of WhatsApp's edition via an additional update available on the Google Play Beta Programme, which WhatsApp claims add an extra layer of protection to users' accounts.

"This indicates that rather than relying entirely on telephone numbers for recognising contacts, users are going to be able to sign up for a distinctive and easily recognisable username by enabling users to choose usernames," WhatsApp Beta said in a piece on its website on Wednesday.

WhatsApp new features

It's not yet obvious how the functionality will function in conjunction with usernames, such as if one would be able to look up any WhatsApp user by username and get in touch with them as with Telegram.

However, the blog post made reference to this potential development, stating that "WhatsApp could provide users an opportunity to reach additional individuals through entering a username inside the app, despite knowing their mobile phone digits."

If true, the functionality will be useful for company owners, as it will allow clients to contact them discreetly while still protecting their phone numbers.

In the last several weeks, WhatsApp has been releasing significant enhancements, the most recent of which is the ability to modify conversations up to 15 minutes after sending.

The messaging app has now caught up to Telegram and Signal, which already enable users to modify messages, thanks to the functionality that was revealed earlier this week.

Last week, WhatsApp began rolling out Chat Lock, a feature that enables users to lock off certain conversations so that only authorised users with a password or biometrics may access them.


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