Facebook announced group calling features for WhatsApp at its F8 conference last month. While the feature was only limited for a very few users, the company is now rolling group calling support to a wider audience on both iOS and Android smartphones. On Android, the feature is only available for WhatsApp Beta users, while iOS users can get access to it through the latest update. Unfortunately, non-beta users on Android will have to wait for a final release, which might not be that far.
For now, users can use the group calling feature to talk to about 4 people at the same time. The feature looks simple and easy to use. To have a group call, you first need to start a video with one participant. The video call interface now carries an Add participant button at the right top corner, which you can click on to look into your contact list and add another participant.
The person on the other side will be notified of the call and the two participants who are already a part of it. WhatsApp only lets you add one person at a time, so you can only add the fourth person once the third participant accepts the call. Once all the participants are added to the video call, the display splits into four blocks for each member. Interestingly, non-beta version users can also be a part of the four-way group call. However, they will not have the option to add participants and can only join when invited by others.
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Hopefully all users wouldn’t have to wait for a long time to try out group calling on WhatsApp. We anyway use the app for most of our communication. Having group calling would only complete that list. While it’s not as much as the 32 people you can call on FaceTime, it’s a great start. Besides that, there are plenty of other features Facebook announced at its F8 conference, related to stickers and new admin controls. You can expect all the features to come out soon with video calling.