WhatsApp to introduce audio, video calling on desktop app for users

WhatsApp will Thursday roll out voice and video calling from the desktop, making it easier for people to take calls at their convenience. Voice and video calls on WhatsApp Web will also be end-to-end encrypted, ensuring that WhatsApp can’t hear or see them, whether you call from your phone or your computer.

"We’re starting with one-to-one calls on the WhatsApp desktop app so we make sure we can give you a reliable and high-quality experience. We will be expanding this feature to include group voice and video calls in the future," the company said in a statement.

The Facebook-owned messaging app had been testing this feature for very few users since late last year.

In order to make a WhatsApp desktop call, you need to have a Windows 10 64-bit version 1903 and newer or macOS 10.13 and newer.

One of the reasons for WhatsApp to roll out this feature is increased calling on the platform due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

"Throughout the last year we've seen significant increases in people calling one another on WhatsApp, often for long conversations. Last New Year’s Eve, we broke the record for the most calls ever made in a single day with 1.4 billion voice and video calls. With so many people still apart from their loved ones, and adjusting to new ways of working, we want conversations on WhatsApp to feel as close to in-person as possible, regardless of where you are in the world or the tech you’re using," the company said. "Answering on a bigger screen makes it easier to work with colleagues, see your family more clearly on a bigger canvas, or free up your hands to move around a room while talking," it added.

India is WhastApp's largest market with over 400 million users. According to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the platform has 530 million users in the country.

To make desktop calling more useful, WhatsApp Web calls will work seamlessly for both vertical and horizontal orientation, will appear in a resizable standalone window on the user's computer screen, and is set to be always on top so they do not lose their video chats in a browser tab or stack of open windows.

After the backlash it received for the update to its privacy policy in early January, WhatsApp has now started displaying a banner that lets users take a better look at the changes that are proposed and reinforce that it does not change personal communication between people. The policy change, which impact WhatsApp Business accounts, is slated to come into effect from May 15.

In January, WhastApp Web had introduced a new feature that requires users to use their device's face or fingerprint authentication in addition to scanning the QR code for logging into the computer.



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