WhatsApp, a Meta-owned entity, announced its newest initiative on Monday: a Discord-like voice chat toolset designed specifically for large groups. Shattering the conventional group call system, this new functionality is designed to start conversations quietly, without any triggering any group-wide alerts, ensuring in-chat activities remain disturbance-free.
The participants can tap on an in-chat bubble to join the ongoing discussion. This feature maintains a fine balance between conversing with available members and continuing text exchanges with those who couldn't join. The well-integrated call controls at the chat's top allow users to conveniently mute, hang up or send messages to the group without having to exit the voice chat.
The company envisages rolling out voice chats to large groups worldwide over the upcoming weeks, kickstarting the initiative with groups harbouring 33 members or more. WhatsApp assures that all voice chats will be safeguarded by default end-to-end encryption.
In practical terms, these voice chats on WhatsApp operate similarly to their counterparts on platforms like Discord, Telegram, and Slack. They all aim at enabling large groups to engage in auditory chat. The announcement of such a feature hardly comes as a surprise, thanks to the early hints in August by WABetaInfo, suggesting that WhatsApp was actively testing voice chats in beta.
This novel feature is introduced in line with WhatsApp's active efforts to make several additions to its platform functionality over recent months. Among these additions, the ability for users to manage two accounts simultaneously is note-worthy. Alongside, the passkey support for Android and a new Flows functionality were also launched to enhance its shopping experience. The latter allows users to perform varied tasks, such as selecting a flight seat or booking an appointment, without leaving the app interface.
The advent of this feature arrives soon after the Q3 earnings call of Meta, during which CEO Mark Zuckerberg disclosed that user and business interactions across their platforms have surpassed 600 million daily. He highlighted that the family of apps and other revenue sources accumulated a profitable $293 million in Q3, marking a noteworthy 53% year-over-year increase, with the WhatsApp Business platform contributing significantly to this number.
This initiative by WhatsApp is likely to alter group behavioral dynamics on the platform by facilitating more dynamic and engaging group chat sessions. Moreover, the adoption of more user-friendly and intuitive features, most akin to those offered by the AppMaster no-code platform, portrays how technological entities are emphasizing more on optimizing user experiences to stay competitive.