WhatsApp has increased the capacity of video group calls by allowing up to 8 people to video chat at a time. This option was previewed by Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg last week and now has finally seen the light of day!
According to WhatsApp:
"The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many of us are isolated from friends and family, and as a result, we've seen that people are turning to voice and video calling on WhatsApp more than ever before. Group calling has been particularly useful and our users have asked to connect with more people at once. Starting today, we’re doubling the number of participants you can have on a WhatsApp video or voice call from 4 to 8 people at a time."
WhatsApp has noted that like its chat option, its video call feature is secured by end-to-end encryption. Keeping in mind that many of its users belong to developing regions, WhatsApp has said that it has reduced its system's demands so that more people in areas where data connectivity isn't easily available, can connect with their loved ones without any problems.
WhatsApp further added that they have introduced the app to Facebook's Portal device, which many people have found useful during quarantine as they share their living rooms with their loved ones.
Facebook's Portal device has seen such a high-demand during COVID-19 that Facebook is now struggling to keep up with it. This could have many effects in the future but for now, it is interesting to see different options being rolled out for this home-connection device.
Facebook has said that its video call feature is increasingly being used during the coronavirus lockdown so it makes sense for it to introduce more tools and expand the existing ones like WhatsApp group chat feature. But there are many questions regarding its implications and usage in the long-term.
Will live streaming and video calls becoming the new norm with more businesses making use of these tools? Will this accelerate a broader digital shift in the coming days?
If you own a brand or are a part of a business, its worth considering how you can utilize these options to facilitate your audience. These tools are quite useful with many possibilities.
For utilizing the new video call option, you will have to update to the latest version of WhatsApp. Happy video calling!