WhatsApp can be soon Zoom’s next rival as it is currently rolling out a revamped Windows client that adds eight-person video calling. In addition, the desktop app now allows users to make audio calls with up to 32 people at a time.
If any of these sound familiar, that’s because these features were on Android and iOS for quite some time now. This is part of Meta’s renewed effort to improving WhatsApp’s desktop clients (opens in new tab) so it will be more similar to the mobile app. In the same vein, the UI has also been redesigned to make it more like the smartphone app and several changes have been made under the hood to improve interfacing with multiple devices. Devices can now connect to WhatsApp on Windows faster than before, while also unlocking new tools such as link previews and stickers.
This update may not seem like much compared to Zoom, which can hold up to 100 participants in a single meeting with its basic plan. However, the company says it has plans to increase the limit of people the app can host in group conversations. So it’s entirely possible that video calls on WhatsApp could one day match Zoom meetings in terms of numbers. Meta is certainly not afraid to allow huge groups on its platform, as seen with the recent ones Communities function.
Speaking of communities, WhatsApp on smartphones has been updated (opens in new tab) earlier this week to help users manage their groups. Administrators now have the option to reject participants. It’s a fairly minor but much-needed change that really should have been there from the start. Also, when you look up a contact’s name, you’ll see if you’re in the same community.
Looking ahead, Meta states that it recently launched a new beta for Android tablets and is working on a beta for Mac desktops. Not much was revealed, but according to a recent report from WABetaInfo, the latest android beta (opens in new tab) introduces a new poll toggle that restricts participants to making only one choice. For macOS it is a complete unknown. Although it could be related to the upcoming “native app built with Mac Catalyst (opens in new tab)that is currently in the works. We’ve contacted Meta for more information. This story will be updated if we hear anything.