Earlier this year, WhatsApp started testing a search button in beta that lets users quickly perform a Google Search to verify the legitimacy of forwarded messages. The messaging platform has now started rolling out the feature to all users in the stable version.
With this addition, you will see a magnifying glass next to messages that have been forwarded multiple times. When you tap on it, WhatsApp will take you to web search results that are relevant to the message.
According to WhatsApp, the feature works by letting users upload messages via their browser. This way, WhatsApp will not be able to see the message that you’re searching for. In other words, the feature will not break end-to-end encryption on the platform.
Given the current circumstances, there have been several rumors and conspiracy theories spreading on social media platforms and messaging apps like WhatsApp. WhatsApp’s decision to roll out this feature would result in curbing misinformation prevalent in the app.
The rollout is part of WhatsApp’s continued efforts to re-establish legitimacy in the platform. Previously, the Facebook-owned company started labeling forwarded messages in 2018 and set limits for forwarded messages this April.
WhatsApp is currently rolling out ‘Search the web’ option in Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, the UK, and the US. It is available across Android, iOS, and WhatsApp Web. WhatsApp should be rolling it out to more regions in the coming months. It is worth noting that you will have to update your WhatsApp app to the latest version available on Play Store or App Store to start using the feature.
Only some forwarded messages have this magnifier button on its side. Why is that? What is the criterion that WhatsApp makes to display that button? Does it read the message then?
Search button appears on messages that are forwarded over 5 times. WhatsApp says forwarded messages contain a counter that keeps track of how many times a message is forwarded. No, WhatsApp doesn’t read your message.