It's not very long since we learned of WhatsApp's plans to up its game to enable it to better compete with the likes of Skype and Zoom. A beta version of the ever-popular chat tool was found to show that there were plans to double the number of people who could take part of group video chats from four to eight.
The feature was soon added to the app's release version. It began rolling out for iPhone users (opens in new tab) on April 27, and is now available to those with Android phones too.
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As WhatsApp points out in a blog post (opens in new tab), there has been an increase in demand for group video calls because of the number of people around the world self-isolating because of the coronavirus pandemic. So, for anyone who has been waiting to get involved in group video chats involving more than four people, the increase is great news.
The increase in video chat participants does not bring WhatsApp in line with Skype and Zoom – which support up to 50 or 100 participants respectively – but it's still great news for anyone who is a WhatsApp user and who doesn't want to switch to another tool.
It's good to talk
One benefit WhatsApp video calls have over some other chat tools is that calls are protected by end-to-end encryption for added privacy and security.
Facebook doesn't specify precisely which version of WhatsApp is needed to unlock eight-people video chats, just that you will have to install the 'latest version'.
It's worth noting that in order for a larger group call to take place, all of the participants need to be running an updated version of WhatsApp that supports the option.