WhatsApp was like a godsend when it came into our lives. That service freed us from the yoke of SMS and proposed a form of communication that has completely conquered us. In Spain, nine out of ten people use it, something that explains why traditional voice calls have “died” in a certain sense.
But WhatsApp wasn’t perfect then and it isn’t perfect now either. One of his convictions is that of that original requirement to link a WhatsApp account with a phone number. That indivisible relationship could be broken —or rather camouflaged— now with the arrival of a feature that would certainly be fantastic: usernames.
The option has appeared in the beta version of WhatsApp for Android (v126.96.36.199) that they have already been able to test at WaBetaInfo. In doing so, they have discovered this new option that allows users to choose a username associated with their account, something that finally raises the possibility that our account is not linked in such a visible way —although it will continue to be so in essence— to our number of phone.
WhatsApp’s proposal is not yet publicly available, but here the idea is exactly the same that Telegram has been proposing for years: that each user has their Twitter-style username, preceded by the at sign.
As our colleagues from Xataka Móvil indicate, usernames are indeed available for company profiles and they will also be available soon in the channels, but until now individual user profiles were linked to the mobile phone number on which we installed WhatsApp.
Many advantages, but above all one: privacy
Being able to use usernames in WhatsApp brings important improvements to the service. One of the most obvious is that flexibility and customization of the service, which we can associate with our name or an alias like the ones we use on Twitter. We identify much more with that username than with a phone number, of course.
Those usernames also make it easier for us to share that username with other people and to better memorize those user accounts. Account synchronization across multiple devices is also easier and more powerful with this system, and even though WhatsApp has the traditional QR code-based linking system, this kind of feature would probably make using WhatsApp on devices other than mobile easier. simple.
The feature also eliminates geographical barriers, since once again by not depending on a mobile number, communication with users from other countries, with different telephone numbers due to national and local prefixes, is simplified.
However, the biggest advantage of this system is the privacy: with usernames we can communicate with other people without having to share our phone number.
This is very appealing, not just to start conversations with acquaintances, but to do it with people with whom we do it occasionally but who we would prefer not to be able to access our phone number.
It remains to be seen if WhatsApp actually activates this feature, but it will undoubtedly be a very interesting option that also would root out that advantage that until now Telegram had.
In Xataka | WhatsApp is an increasingly complex app. Along the way, it has lost what we valued most: simplicity