Meta has announced today that it will be rolling out Voice Chat for groups of 33 people or more up to a maximum of 128 people. The feature works in a very similar manner to both Discord and Telegram, where the voice chat will continue without ringing and users can still message in the chat while it is ongoing.
The feature, which was first spotted in beta testing back in August this year, works by displaying a small “waveform” icon in the top right of a group chat, this would then bring up a small prompt with a larger green button that would say “Start Voice Chat” which once pressed would begin the chat. Group members would then receive a push notification to join, instead of a standard phone call.
In WhatsApp’s Help Center there is now a support page detailing how to start a voice chat, as well as the limitations the feature has. These include being restricted only to the primary device, and that they will automatically end once everyone has left the chat or if nobody joins the first or last person in the chat for 60 minutes.
The feature will also display a banner at the bottom of the screen showing who is currently in the voice chat, and the chat status will persist at the top of the screen for the duration of the chat. To leave the chat, users can just tap the red X icon on the right-hand side of this chat status bar at the top of the screen, and there is also a mute toggle located on the left-hand side of this bar.
WhatsApp has been adding a lot of new features recently, and been testing a lot more, in an aim to become the dominant instant messaging app. This includes the ability to use multiple accounts on a single device and further expanding the Channels feature worldwide.