WhatsApp users around the world have something to look forward to: making voice and video calls to more than one person.
While WhatsApp has allowed users to make voice calls since 2015 and video calls since 2016, users couldn’t call more than one person. Now, going forward, they will be able to do so.
However, WhatsApp is limiting group calls (both voice and video) to just four people. While this may be disappointing to some, it means that the popular messaging app’s focus remains private messaging since making it possible for larger groups to do so would potentially make it a go-to app for business use given the app’s popularity around the world. The decision also allows WhatsApp owner Facebook to differentiate the products in its portfolio since Messenger also has a similar feature.
“Just start a one-on-one voice or video call and tap the new “add participant” button in the top right corner to add more contacts to the call,” a blog post announcing the availability of the feature reads.
By allowing users to make group calls, WhatsApp has finally joined a growing list of similar messaging applications that do so. WhatsApp’s sister, Messenger, allows users to call up to 50 people while Snapchat lets users do so for up to 16 people. When it arrives later in the year, the latest version of iOS (12), will allow users to FaceTime with up to 32 people, as we learned at Apple’s annual developer conference, WWDC, early last month.
Unlike the competition, however, WhatsApp’s group calls will stand out because they are encrypted end-to-end.