WhatsApp is the most popular IP-based messaging app worldwide, but it still suffers from feature limitations. The company has steadily increased the app’s feature set in the last few months, adding the ability to switch from a voice call to a video call in the middle of a call, new group features including user search and tools to catch up on messages, the ability for group administrators to block users from sending messages in a group, and a Mute shortcut button for WhatsApp notifications in Android. The company has started labeling forwarded messages as well. It’s also developing a “Mark as Read” shortcut button for notifications.
Now, WhatsApp is rolling out group voice and video calls. The company originally rolled out voice calling in 2015 and added video calling later. The company states that its users spend over 2 billion minutes on calls per day. Users ca now make a group call with up to three people for a total of four participants in the group voice/video call. The procedure to do so is simple: Start a one-on-one voice or video call and tap the “Add Participant” button in the top right corner to add more contacts to the call.
WhatsApp states that group calls are always end-to-end encrypted. The company also claims to have designed calling to work reliably around the world in different network conditions. Group voice and video calling is not a new feature, as other apps such as Google Hangouts have supported it for a long time. It’s taken WhatsApp quite a while to catch up, but it’s good to see the company addressing the feature deficit.
The group voice and video calling feature is now rolling out both in the Android and iPhone versions of the app.