WhatsApp has updated its messaging service with support for group video calls, allowing you to chat with four people simultaneously on its iOS and Android apps. The Facebook-owned messaging app announced that its millions of subscribers worldwide can now get in touch with their friends and family in a group video or voice chat.
The company says it engineered the feature to work under less-than-stellar network conditions, so you can video chat a friend or family member from a far-flung locale so long as you can get yourself online. Calls are also end-to-end encrypted, like all chats on the platform.
“We’re excited to announce that group calls for voice and video are coming to WhatsApp starting today,” the company said in a statement released on July 30.
To use the new feature, you’ll need to first start a one-on-one voice or video call with a contact, and then tap the ‘add participant’ button at the top right of your screen.
Earlier this year, WhatsApp announced that it has 1.5 billion monthly active users, so there are probably quite a few people who are itching to try the new group calling feature out. WhatsApp first launched video chatting in 2016 and voice calling way back in 2014, and now its users spend a total of 2 billion minutes per day talking on the phone.
Its parent company, Facebook, announced back at its F8 conference in May that it was building the feature for both WhatsApp and Instagram. It arrived on the latter platform back in June, with a similar four-person limit.
As I noted before, limiting calls to just four people means you can’t use it with large groups of friends and family; in contrast, iOS 12’s FaceTime allows for up to 32 people at once. Now that’s a party.
In any case, WhatsApp’s new group video calls are rolling out starting today; you’ll want to update the app to the latest version to try it out.