WhatsApp is introducing a new voice chat feature aimed at enhancing the group calling experience on the messaging platform. The current method of ringing participants’ devices during group calls may be disruptive, especially when dealing with participants in different time zones. The new voice chat feature will address this issue by allowing group members engaged in a conversation to perform other tasks within the app simultaneously, similar to features available on platforms like Slack and Discord.
The rollout of voice chats was announced by WhatsApp on Monday, and it is available to users who have updated to the latest versions of WhatsApp on Android and iOS. Once enabled for a group, members will have the option to start a voice chat instead of a traditional group call. The new waveform icon at the top right corner of the screen initiates a voice chat when pressed.
When a voice chat is initiated, group members receive push notifications inviting them to join. Even those who are not part of the voice chat can see the profiles of participants. The feature allows users to leave and rejoin the voice chat as needed, and the chat concludes once all participants have left or if there’s only one person in the chat for an hour.
The initial rollout will prioritize larger groups with more than 32 members, specifically those with 33 to 128 participants. The voice chat feature will be available on a user’s primary device and won’t support linked devices. This enhancement is expected to provide a more seamless and versatile group calling experience for WhatsApp users.