Ever since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, the virus has forced people to stay home and consequently resulted in an increase of videoconferencing services.
To date Zoom has proved the most popular option, with Google working to make its Meet app function similarly. Now WhatsApp is reportedly getting in on the act, with the instant messaging platform now trialling out video calls for up to eight people.
Video calls are nothing new for WhatsApp, but the limit previously was four people, which has seen it fall far behind some of the other options out there.
WhatsApp is yet to make the feature official though, with WABetainfo explaining that the firm is planning to roll out a beta update to both iOS and Android devices to facilitate the new video call support.
The site further breaks down how the feature will work in beta, with the first being video calling a group. Should it feature more than four users, the person who initiates the video call, will be asked which other users to add to it. The other method is for those who have not created a specific group in WhatsApp, and will involve hitting the “new group call” button and selecting the users you wish to add.
Whether eight is the maximum that WhatsApp can go right now, remains to be seen, but trying to reach the same number as Zoom or Google Meet would prove difficult without a complete redesign of the application.
It also remains to be seen what the endgame for the feature will be, or whether it will only be used during the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns.
That said, we can certainly see a use for it on WhatsApp for Desktop as an alternative videoconferencing platform. For now we’ll have to wait to find out what Facebook (which owns WhatsApp) has planned for its popular IM service.[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]