WhatsApp has launched a huge boost for its built-in video calling feature for users across the UK. The update, announced last week in a flurry of news about video calls from the parent company Facebook, is now available in iOS and Android version of WhatsApp for all users. You will need to be running the latest version of the app to start calls with the new limit – from four simultaneous calls to eight people.
The latest update should make the chat app, which is currently the most popular messaging service worldwide, with over two billion users, a more viable alternative for people like Zoom, Houseparty, FaceTime and Skype for conference calls or updates with friends and family.
Of course, WhatsApp is still behind some of its rivals, including Google Duo (supports 12 in a single call), Google Meet (up to 100 people for personal use, 250 for business and education users), Apple's 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 video call limit, which is a good thing.
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 couldn't have come at a better time. As millions stay at home in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus around the world, video calling applications are becoming increasingly popular as a way to keep in touch with friends and family.
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Facebook, owner of WhatsApp, introduced a new multiplatform solution, known as Messenger Rooms, which allows you to bring contacts from various messaging services belonging to 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, in addition to using augmented reality filters, custom backgrounds à la Zoom, along with lighting effects to increase 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 you 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.