WhatsApp is introducing a new feature for users that will allow more participants in both voice and video calls. The move was likely inspired by the massive growth of video calling apps that promote online group meetings in times of social distancing. The WhatsApp group call feature is currently limited to just four participants.
The changes were first spotted on Thursday by a website, WABetaInfo, which tracks new and upcoming WhatsApp updates. It was revealed after the company rolled out a new beta update – WhatsApp Messenger beta for iOS 18.104.22.168.
The report said that WhatsApp has decided to extend the limit to allow calls with more participants on audio and video calls which is probably due to the concerns of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the fact that more users are starting to use group calls. The report further added that users will need to have the most recent WhatsApp version for iOS and Android devices to be able to participate in bigger WhatsApp group calls.
However, the company has not revealed the total number of users that will be able to join a WhatsApp group call and it also not known as to when the new calling feature will be rolled out to all the users. With the new beta update, WhatsApp also displays a new header during audio and video calls to inform users that the call is end-to-end encrypted.
In the month of March, there was a 70 per cent increase in users who participated in group video calls on Facebook Messenger week-over-week, with the amount of time spent almost doubled worldwide. At the same time, WhatsApp audio and video calls have also doubled year-over-year, especially locations that are most impacted by COVID-19.
Image credits: WhatsApp