WhatsApp announced a major boost for its built-in video calling feature. This should make the chat app, currently the most popular messaging service worldwide, with more than two billion unique users, a more viable alternative for people like Zoom, Houseparty, FaceTime and Skype for conference calls or conversations with friends and family.
Available on iPhone and Android, the new update will allow eight people to talk simultaneously on the same call. Obviously, WhatsApp is still behind some of its rivals, including Google Duo (supports 12 in a single call), FaceTime (supports 32) and Zoom (up to 500 with its most expensive add-on). However, it aligns WhatsApp with Houseparty, which has exactly the same call limit.
As before, all video calls on WhatsApp are protected with end-to-end encryption, so that no one else can see or hear your private conversation – not even WhatsApp itself.
The new update could not have come at a better time. As millions stay at home in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus worldwide, video calling apps are becoming increasingly popular as a way to keep in touch with friends and family.
Facebook, owner of WhatsApp, has introduced a new cross platform solution, known as Messenger Rooms, which allows you to get in touch with various messaging services owned by Facebook, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram and more.
For those who want to chat with much, much more than eight people in a single call, Messenger Rooms will allow up to 50 people to chat simultaneously. This new video call feature makes it easy to get in and out and chat with up to 50 people.
Facebook users can control who enters and sees the room, as well as use augmented reality filters, personalized backgrounds à la Zoom, as well as lighting effects to increase their video calls. These large Messenger rooms can be created in Messenger or in the main Facebook application or website.
And soon, owners of Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Portal will also be able to start these large messaging rooms. Best of all, you can invite anyone to participate, even if they don't have a Facebook.
Of course, Facebook is trying to undo the success of people like Zoom, Houseparty and others. And with the colossal number of users already subscribed to Facebook, WhatsApp or Instagram – it may soon become the preferred option for people looking to chat with friends or family during the block.