WhatsApp Expands Voice Chat Functionality to Accommodate Larger Groups

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WhatsApp has introduced a novel voice chat functionality designed to facilitate smooth and unintrusive live conversations within large groups. In contrast to conventional voice calls and voice notes, this innovative feature refrains from individually alerting each group member when a voice chat commences. Instead, users will discreetly receive a notification and can opt to join the conversation at their convenience.

This new feature, according to WhatsApp, minimizes disruptions for individuals engaged in other activities or those desiring uninterrupted focus. Moreover, it offers enhanced flexibility for participants to seamlessly enter and exit conversations as needed. For instance, if someone is in a meeting but requires a brief departure, they can effortlessly exit the voice chat by tapping the chat bubble. Upon readiness to reengage, they can simply tap the chat bubble again to rejoin. Similar to Discord’s voice chat feature, WhatsApp permits users to enter or exit the conversation at any time. Call controls are conveniently positioned at the top of the group chat, enabling users to continue messaging while the voice chat is ongoing.

To initiate a voice chat on WhatsApp:

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  1. Open the desired group chat.
  2. Tap the phone icon at the top right corner.
  3. Select “Start Voice Chat.”
  4. Group members will receive a push notification inviting them to join.
  5. Participants in the voice chat are displayed on the banner at the bottom of the screen.
  6. To exit a voice chat, tap the Red Cross button.

WhatsApp emphasizes that this new voice chat feature supports multitasking, allowing users to manage the call and send text messages simultaneously. The conversations are end-to-end encrypted, ensuring that only the participants can access and hear the content.

Notably, WhatsApp plans to roll out voice chats for groups with 33 to 128 participants on both iOS and Android devices in the coming weeks. Groups with fewer than 33 members will initially be unable to use this feature, as they can utilize WhatsApp’s existing group voice call feature. Additionally, the feature is accessible solely on the primary device, and members not participating in the voice chat can view the profiles of those engaged in the chat from the chat header and the Calls tab. Voice chats will conclude automatically once everyone has exited the chat or if no one joins the conversation within 60 minutes of initiation by the first or last person.

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