Inspired by the growth of other video meeting apps, Whatsapp has rolled out an option for 8 users on calls. The feature is available to those who have the latest iOS and Android Beta update installed. One needs to install the 188.8.131.52 iOS beta update from TestFlight and the 2.20.133 beta from Google Play for the feature to work. Other participants will only be able to join the call if they are on the same versions.
If the group has a number of participants higher than the maximum allowed number of contacts in a call, WhatsApp will ask which contacts you wish to call to, otherwise the call will be directly started. Furthermore, group participants that are not saved in your contacts would not be added in the call.
This update was first spotted by WABetaInfo, a fan website that tracks WhatsApp updates. Whatsapp has about 2 billion users, including over 400 million in India.
Whatsapp conquering business of Demand-Supply
It definetly looks like Whatsapp has plans to conquer the demand of video conferencing solution. From the time lockdown started, Zoom, a Silicon-valley based video conferencing platform saw an upsurge in the number of users. Though Zoom got the attention overnight due to the demand, it had a few privacy policies. This forced many tech giants and governments to refrain themselves from using the app. That is when the people started looking up for safer options.
Other apps are witnessing tremendous growth. Last month, 70 per cent more people participated in group video calls using Facebook Messenger week-over-week, and the amount time spent on those group video calls has doubled globally. Voice and video calls on WhatsApp have more than doubled year-over-year in the places most impacted by the virus.
Apple’s FaceTime video calling tool supports 32 people while Facebook Messenger can support up to 50 people in a call. Apps such as Zoom, Microsoft’s Meets app and Google’s Hangouts are also growing tremendously.