WhatsApp has launched its long-awaited special feature, ‘group video calls,’ which now brings it to par with other major messaging apps.
Both Android and iOS users can now hold audio and video conversations with up to four people.
Once the feature is live, you can start making group video calls within the app by taping on the new “add participant” option in the top right corner of the screen while you’re video chatting.
WhatsApp reiterated that calls are “end-to-end encrypted” like its other chats, and promised that they should work in less-than-stellar network conditions.
The addition gives WhatsApp an answer to rivals that have had the option for a while, like Skype. And it’s arguably overdue.
Facebook Messenger supports group video calls of up to 50, while Snapchat supports 16 participants.
Apple’s FaceTime will work with up to 32 people when iOS 12 launches later this year.
Over 1.5 billion people use WhatsApp every month, with some of them relying on it as their primary means of phone-based communication.
This opens the door to group video calls for a significant chunk of that group, many of whom might have trouble convincing friends to switch apps just for the sake of a face-to-face conversation.
The company made the announcement in a blog post on Tuesday reads;
“Over the last couple of years, people have enjoyed making voice and video calls on WhatsApp. In fact, our users spend over 2 billion minutes on calls per day. We’re excited to announce that group calls for voice and video are coming to WhatsApp starting today.
“You can make a group call with up to four people total – anytime and anywhere. Just start a one-on-one voice or video call and tap the new “add participant” button in the top right corner to add more contacts to the call.
“Group calls are always end-to-end encrypted, and we’ve designed calling to work reliably around the world in different network conditions. The feature is currently rolling out on the iPhone and Android versions of our app.”