WhatsApp launching 32-person voice chat feature

WhatsApp has begun introducing group voice conversations in its Android mobile app’s beta version, allowing up to 32 participants to join. This functionality is initially accessible to a specific set of beta testers who are using WhatsApp beta for Android 2.23.16.19. Over time, this feature will progressively become more widely accessible, and it may also extend to stable official releases of WhatsApp. Beta testers can test this feature in groups that include non-beta users.

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In contrast to conventional WhatsApp voice calls, the initiation of group voice chats will not trigger a ringing notification on every participant’s device. Instead, all members of the group will receive a discreet notification indicating an ongoing group voice chat. Upon entering the relevant group, participants will notice a new drop-down voice chat window beneath the group’s name. This window will display the current number of connected callers and a “Connect” button for users to join.

Groups engaged in active voice calls will exhibit a waveform icon adjacent to the kebab (three-dot) menu on the right-hand side. Voice chats that are left empty will automatically conclude after 60 minutes of inactivity. Currently, any group member has the capability to initiate a voice chat; whether WhatsApp will grant administrators the ability to modify this remains to be seen.

According to WABetaInfo, this feature is presently accessible only to specific groups, and even groups with over 32 participants will still be constrained to a maximum of 32 connected callers simultaneously.

Similar to all individual and group interactions on WhatsApp, group voice chats are safeguarded by end-to-end encryption, ensuring privacy and security.

With the addition of voice chats, WhatsApp is introducing a feature akin to Discord’s channels, providing users with a more versatile communication experience.

The timeline for when this feature will be available to all general users of the popular messaging app has not yet been disclosed.