As we all know due to the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone has to maintain social distancing and self-quarantine. In this hard time, most of us are isolated from our friends and family. As it is not possible to visit their homes or meetup at any public place, people are now relying on video and voice calls.
“Over the last month, people on average are spending over 15 billion minutes talking each day on WhatsApp calls, well above a typical day before the pandemic,” WhatsApp stated.
Group calling enables us to connect with more number of people at one time. The COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be beneficial for video calling platforms like Zoom, Houseparty, etc. Users are using applications like Zoom to do video conferencing with their friends. Recently, WhatsApp also announced that they will increase the limit of participants in a group call from four to eight. Now, they have officially doubled the number of participants one can have on a WhatsApp video or voice call which means you can now start a video or voice call with 7 other friends. This is good news for those who were struggling to do video calls with more participants. The feature is available for both Android and iOS users. You just need to update your application to the latest release to access the new limit on WhatsApp calls.
However, Android users have to wait a little more time as the update is still in its beta release. So, if you’re a beta tester for WhatsApp Android, you can update the app from Play Store and enjoy the benefits but being a beta tester, it is your responsibility to report any bug or error to the developers.
While iOS users can update the application from the App Store. The new release for iOS also comes with some visual improvements for iOS 13 users including the updated message action menu. WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook also stated that their voice and video calls are fully secured with end-to-end encryption even with the double number of participants. This means nobody except the participants can intercept in-between and listen or see any private conversation, not even WhatsApp.
While WhatsApp increased the participants’ limit, Facebook has also announced a new tool- Messenger Room. The feature will enable users to do a group video call with as many as 50 participants at a time. Using Messenger Rooms users can create rooms and share the invite link, so anyone will be able to join your video call, even if they are not on Facebook or WhatsApp.
Introducing Messenger Rooms, group video calls that you can start and share via @messenger @facebookapp and soon @instagram @whatsapp and @portalfacebook. We're testing Rooms in a few countries now and plan to roll it out globally in the coming weeks. pic.twitter.com/kQWb2nbPzY
— Meta (@Meta) April 24, 2020
It is likely that the social media giant Facebook will also provide a shortcut to this upcoming new tool for WhatsApp users as well, giving them access to one more calling option.
According to WABetaInfo WhatsApp is experimenting with this feature which will add a shortcut to messenger to create a room. The new shortcut will be available in the chat/group share sheet.
Facebook Messenger Rooms are similar to Zoom, which uses the same method to organize video conferencing.
Zoom has seen an upward trend in its daily active user base which has increased from 200 to 300 million users in April. It seems like Zoom’s growth has been a motivation for others to introduce similar things for their users also. But, due to security flaws Zoom has been banned by many tech companies and governments. Zoom may face a huge competition from the messaging app as Facebook is trying to cover Zoom’s flaws in their new tool.
We hope we’ll see many such new features in the upcoming days.