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Introducing WhatsApp’s new Discord-like voice chats for groups

by navyatha
WhatsApp's new Discord-like voice chats

WhatsApp’s new Discord popularized group-oriented voice capability, which WhatsApp now mirrors with the addition of voice conversations, is a major improvement in the messaging app’s feature set. Unlike conventional voice notes and calls, this new feature functions more like a “group call,” streamlining the process by sending a discreet push notification instead of individually ringing each group member.

By implementing this innovative feature, users can seamlessly enter or exit voice chats at any time, aligning with Discord’s similar functionality. During the voice chat, participants have the added capability to exchange text messages using call controls situated at the top of the group chat interface, fostering a dynamic and interactive communication experience.

With this function, you can continue messaging individuals who are unable to join while conversing with those who can. By selecting the call controls at the top of the conversation, you can easily unmute, hang up, or message the group without having to exit the audio chat.

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Over the next few weeks, the business will begin offering audio chats to large groups worldwide, beginning with those that have 33 or more members. According to WhatsApp, voice interactions are secured by default using end-to-end encryption.

Similar to voice chats on Slack, Discord, and Telegram, voice chats on WhatsApp allow large groups of people to engage in spoken discussions.

One notable aspect of the voice chat feature is its visibility settings. Non-participating members can view the profiles of individuals engaged in the audio conversation through the chat header and the Calls tab. Simultaneously, group participants receive real-time updates on who joins the voice chat through a banner displayed at the bottom of the screen.

Initiating a voice chat is a straightforward process, requiring users to open the desired group chat, tap the waveform icon in the upper right corner, and select the “Start Voice Chat” option. To conclude the session, users can simply tap the “X” symbol in the group chat’s upper-right corner.

WhatsApp has set specific parameters for voice chats to optimize the user experience. These group conversations are limited to a participant range of 33 to 128 individuals, and the feature is currently restricted to the primary device, as outlined in WhatsApp’s help website. Additionally, to ensure the efficient use of resources and privacy, voice chats automatically terminate after an hour if the last user exits or if no new participants join. The commitment to end-to-end encryption, a hallmark of WhatsApp, extends to voice chats, providing users with the same level of security as private calls and messages.

While “Voice Chats” were initially observed in August and made available to a select group of users on the app’s test version, it appears that WhatsApp is progressively rolling out this feature to all users. However, users may need to exercise patience, as the functionality may take a few days to become universally accessible on all devices.

The timing of this announcement coincides with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s insights shared during the Q3 earnings call. Zuckerberg highlighted a substantial increase in user and business interactions, surpassing 600 million times per day across Meta’s platforms. The financial results for Q3, with a 53% year-over-year increase in the family of apps and other revenue, underscore the positive impact of these developments.

A significant contributor to this growth is the success of the WhatsApp business platform. The platform has become instrumental in facilitating interactions between users and businesses, playing a key role in Meta’s overall revenue. This success highlights the importance of WhatsApp not only as a personal communication tool but also as a valuable platform for businesses to engage with their audience.

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All things considered, WhatsApp’s recent announcement of voice chats is part of a larger plan to continuously innovate and enhance the platform. The addition of features such as simultaneous account usage, passkey support, and “Flows” demonstrates WhatsApp’s commitment to staying relevant and providing a comprehensive and secure messaging experience. The positive financial indicators from Meta’s Q3 earnings further validate the success of these efforts, particularly in the realm of business interactions facilitated by the WhatsApp Business platform.

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