Zoom effect: WhatsApp is making group calling easier in new update but there’s a catch

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Published: April 8, 2020 3:32 PM

WhatsApp is making this new update valid for WhatsApp groups with four or fewer members only.

whatsappGoing forward, WhatsApp group members can video and audio call with each other by a single tap. (Photo credit: Reuters)

Hours after introducing new limits on forwards, WhatsApp has announced that it is making group calling easier on its platform. Going forward, WhatsApp group members can video and audio call with each other by a single tap much like how it is with video and audio calling individuals. Previously, users had to manually add participants to audio and video calls. There’s a catch though.

WhatsApp is making this new update valid for WhatsApp groups with four or fewer members only. This means WhatsApp groups with more than four members will still need to manually add participants in order to video and audio call simultaneously.

Should the new update be useful to you — it would be if you’re part of smaller groups with four or fewer members — it’s now rolling out for both Android and iOS so be sure to check if your WhatsApp is running the latest version.

The coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19 has led to a spike in video calling and video calling apps. Zoom is a classic example. While WhatsApp can’t surely match the participant count and added functionality of dedicated video conferencing apps like Zoom, it would be banking heavily on its privacy-focused approach and end-to-end encryption to make a selling. Not that it needs to, WhatsApp is already the de-facto chat app for India’s masses, and it’s also popular in other parts of the world — although not as much as it is in India.

Making group calling easier isn’t the only step that WhatsApp has taken lately, it has also taken more concrete steps to curb the spread of coronavirus misinformation on its platform. WhatsApp now limits all users to forward a ‘frequently forwarded’ message only once per chat. The new limit applies to all messages that have been forwarded up to five times (or more). The new limit on frequently forwarded messages is aimed at constraining ‘virality.’

Also Read WhatsApp has a fake news problem: Here’s everything that it’s doing to fight it in wake of Coronavirus outbreak

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