WhatsApp has introduced several initiatives to help users get through the lockdown due to coronavirus pandemic. The company now extends its group voice and video calls to eight participants at a time. WhatsApp Head Will Cathcart has confirmed that the update will be available to all Android and iPhone users next week. Currently, only four users can participate in group calls.
The extension of group WhatsApp call participants comes at the right time when people are working remotely and living far away from family and friends due to COVID-19. Several video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, and others have witnessed a surge in demand over the last month. Zoom recently announced that it now has 300 million users on board globally.
With the extension of group call participants, WhatsApp can now give a tough competition to these video conferencing platforms given it already has a strong user base worldwide. Similar to chats, all video and voice calls on WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted.
How to make WhatsApp group voice, video call
WhatsApp group video and voice calls have been there for quite some time now. Since the launch, the Facebook-owned messaging platform limited the calls to four participants at a time. But with the COVID-19 lockdown, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a FB Live video that the company has received requests on extending the group call limit and hence the company doubles the limit from four to eight.
From a WhatsApp group
–To start with group call you will first need to click on the calling icon at the top left corner of a WhatsApp group
–Then click on the participant you wish to add to the group call
–Click on the voice or video call icon at the top of the screen as per your requirement.
From an individual chat
–First, open the chat with one o the contacts you want to video call
–Then tap on Video call icon on shown on the screen
–Once the contact accepts the group call request click on ‘Add participant’
–You can keep adding participants to the call until you reach the limit.
WhatsApp group calls: Some tips to keep in mind
–On Android WhatsApp group call is available only on phones Android running version 4.1 and above. So ensure to have your phone upgraded to the supported versions.
–All latest versions of iOS support WhatsApp group call feature.
–To use WhatsApp group calls the users must have a stable internet connection. It works on both Mobile data and WiFi but the latter is preferable for a better experience.
–You must also ensure your contacts have a stable internet connection.
–Users can turn off video at any time during a video call by clicking on Video Off option at the bottom of the screen.
–Users can’t remove a participant from a group call. The contact will need to hand up to disconnect from the call.
–Group call history also appears in the calls tab to keep a record.
–One can send a group call request only if they have your phone number saved.
–Similarly, you can add someone to a group call if you have their phone number saved.
Newly announced WhatsApp features
WhatsApp has announced several new features recently including the new Together at Home sticker pack that has started rolling out to all users globally. With the new “Together at Home” sticker pack WhatsApp aims to help people stay connected throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The messaging platform also partnered with the government to launch helpline numbers and chatbots to help users get accurate information about the pandemic.
Recently, WhatsApp introduced a cap to frequently forwarded messages. With the new limit coming in users will no longer be able to send a frequently forwarded message to more than one person at a time. The feature is aimed to prevent the spread of false information on the platform.
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