Back when I was six years old, a teacher showed us the image of an animal and asked us what it was. Several students answered "hippopotamus," and I was left wide-eyed and speechless. I was not used to being one of those who didn't know something, so the feeling stuck with me and I started working harder to avoid being as clueless as I was that day. If that incident is still imprinted in my memory, you can imagine that the hippo holds a special place in my heart too. My husband would tell you that I made him walk the entire Valencia Bioparc twice on our honeymoon because we missed the hippo on our first pass. That's why I like Unicode 11, as the hippo finally gets a much-deserved emoji in it, and now it's available in WhatsApp beta. (Talk about a long-winded intro!)
We like to joke about emojis, and their ever-growing number over the past years, but for some people, there's more to them than a small graphic. The hippo tells a story of where I came from, and other emojis might hold some special meaning for you. So if you've been waiting for a specific emoji to make its way to WhatsApp, you can check out the latest beta for all the Unicode 11 additions.
I was able to spot the party face, hot face, cold face, woozy face, superheroes, and supervillains, but the red/curly/white/bald hair didn't jump at me, so I'm not sure if my eyes are playing tricks or they're still not implemented. Multiple animals have been added beside the hippo, including the kangaroo, peacock, and parrot. There are some new foods too like a mango, bagel, cupcake, as well as sports equipment for lacrosse and skating, and some scientific apparatus such as a test tube, petri dish, DNA, and lab coat. You'll also find a teddy bear and plenty of other emojis I won't list here.
Left: Before. Right: After. Notice the new faces, animals, and food items.
In this current beta, v2.18.338, these emojis don't appear to be searchable by name, so you'll have to scroll and squint to find the one you want. Hopefully search terms will be implemented later.
Another addition over the past week — I believe it came with beta 2.18.335 — is the option to reply privately to someone in a group chat. So if a participant says something you want to talk more about without involving the entire group, you can tap the message, then the overflow button on the top right, and choose Reply privately. Your one-on-one conversation with that person will be opened and the message will be quoted so they know what you're talking to them about.
Reply privately in a group to send your message to only one person.
Both of these changes are available in WhatsApp beta 2.18.388, which you can either grab from the Play Store by joining the official beta program or from APK Mirror if you prefer to sideload it.
- Samarth Verma