WhatsApp Challenges Zoom With 50 Person Video Calling

WhatsApp’s owner Facebook looks like it is serious about taking advantage of the video conferencing boom caused by the global Coronavirus pandemic.

It is testing a new feature that will pose a direct challenge to the likes of Zoom, Skype, Google Meet and other video conferencing products.

Last week WhatsApp officially rolled out eight-person video calls for iOS and Android users globally, to allow groups of friends and family to connect remotely during the lockdown.

Video conferencing

But now WhatsApp looks to be going one stage further, after researchers at WABetaInfo spotted that menus in the beta version of WhatsApp Web (i.e. the desktop version) contains shortcuts.

Those shortcuts direct users to the newly released Facebook Messenger Rooms, where users can create a room and invite people to join, or create a room directly from WhatsApp.

This new feature will give users the ability to make video calls with up to 50 participants on the desktop.

Remember, it was not long ago that it was only possible to make group WhatsApp video calls with only four people.

Facebook is seeking to make Messenger Rooms work across its Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram products in the future.

Zoom challenge

Messenger Rooms was launched last month and it seems to be a direct challenge to Zoom, Microsoft’s Skype, Apple’s FaceTime and Google Meet.

But unlike some of those video calling services, there’s no time limit for a Messenger Room.

Users can even start and share rooms on Facebook via the News Feed, as well as Groups and Events.

At this stage, it is not clear whether WhatsApp’s support of Messenger Rooms for desktop users, will be rolled out to WhatsApp’s mobile apps.

Quiz: Think you know all about Facebook?

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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