WhatsApp says that any message that you decided to search online will be sent directly to the web browser on your iOS or Android smartphone “without WhatsApp ever seeing the message itself” – so you shouldn’t need to worry about Facebook keeping tabs on the content of your messages thanks to this improved security feature. Of course, depending on your search engine preference, it’s possible the contents of your search will be tracked and used to influence future suggestions and targeted advertising on your device.
“Providing a simple way to search messages that have been forwarded many times may help people find news results or other sources of information about content they have received,” WhatsApp says in the blog post announcing the feature.
The new feature is being rolled out this week in the United Kingdom, as well as Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain and the United States. To see the security feature, you’ll need to be running the latest version of WhatsApp on Android, iOS, or WhatsApp Web.