For people who love using WhatsApp messenger it looks like a new feature is on the horizon that is long overdue: support for animated GIFs.

The new feature was spotted by the site in the latest private beta (v2.16.138). We fired up our version of the app and were able to verify the initial support.

The full feature is not fully implemented yet as you cannot actually send the animated GIF at this stage, but the picker for the gallery clearly tags any detected animated GIFs in your library, and it lets you attach them to a message.

While support for animated GIFs is helpful, it presumes you have a small library full of them to send. Many companies these days are leveraging Giphy as an online repository for animated GIFs. Giphy lets you search for the latest and attach them quickly to various messengers including Microsoft's GroupMe app. It is not clear if WhatsApp plans to go down this preferred route at this time.

WhatsApp private betas usually introduce new features that come to the public version after a few weeks. There is no current method to sign up for the private beta. We'll keep an eye on any developments and will keep you posted.

Thanks, Mark, for the tip!