Much has been said of the rapid increase of video calling during the last month, when remote work and social distancing became the norm around the globe. And a new big player is arriving in this field: Facebook’s messaging app WhatsApp.
The firm seems to have some big plans for video calling, which should make it a viable alternative to Zoom and Skype for large conference calls.
Currently, no more than four people can participate in a WhatsApp video call at once, but it looks like that might be about to change, as TechRadar reports. WABetaInfo, which specializes in trawling through WhatsApp beta releases, discovered strings of code revealing that the service is preparing to up its maximum number of participants on a group audio or video call as well, in the near future.
It looks like all users will need to have the latest version of WhatsApp installed for the higher max number of participants to be enabled. And it’s still not known what the new max number will be.
WhatsApp is also working on a new call header within the app. This is already rolling out with the v2.20.129 update for Android but has already been available since the v18.104.22.168 on iOS. The header notifies you that your calls are end-to-end encrypted during your calls.
One of the biggest appeals of Zoom is the ability to host up to 100 callers on its free version (or up to 1,000 on premium subscriptions). If WhatsApp is able to raise its limit substantially, it might become a serious alternative for video calls with lots of participants – which would be particularly helpful now so many people worldwide are relying on video conferencing for their daily work.