Facebook has confirmed to news agency Reuters that it will roll out audio and video calling feature for WhatsApp Web next year. WhatsApp is already testing the feature and it was rolled out for a small number of users ahead of the holiday season, WABetaInfo reported. Even though the feature is said to be enabled next year, there is no word on an exact launch date as of now.
Audio and video calling for WhatsApp web version comes at a time when more and more people are working from home, thanks to lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic. Keeping in mind the holiday season, video calling service Zoom has also temporarily lifted its 40-minute limit in its free version. Google Meet has also removed its 60-minute restriction till March 2021.
“The move to facilitate calls over large screens would put WhatsApp on par with video-conferencing bigwigs Zoom and Google Meet, but it is unclear if it has ambitions to compete with the two in the enterprise space,” Reuters reported.
Though audio and video calling is available on the WhatsApp app, the feature on the Web version will make it more convenient for people who use their laptops more often, to stay in touch with family and friends. WhatsApp is one of the largest messaging apps worldwide with over two billion users.
WhatsApp app already allows group audio and video calling with up to eight participants. We will have to wait and watch if WhatsApp decides to go for something similar for its web version as well. Last week, WaBetaInfo shared screenshots of how the feature could work.
According to the website, the audio and video call icons will be present in the chat header. The incoming calls will open in a separate window where users will have the option to accept or decline. Once audio and video calling is officially rolled for WhatsApp Web, users will be able to make calls on their laptops when they are logged in to the Web version. In the Whatsapp app version, the icons for audio and video calls are available on top right of the chat header.