Major chatting platform; WhatsApp is introducing a new voice chat system that will work like group chats on Discord, allowing users to join the conversation at any time.
The new feature will be open to up to 32 speakers at a time and will be flexible for larger groups. It will also provide notifications when someone starts a chat, making it less disruptive than traditional calls.
WhatsApp’s new voice chat system is currently in testing and was spotted in development once earlier, but now details about how it works are becoming clearer, meaning it is very close to an official release.
What are WhatsApp voice chats?
Before we explain voice chats, it’s worth clarifying how voice calls work on WhatsApp right now – they’re closed-off systems. That means you can start a voice call and people can join, but if everyone leaves the call, it ends.
WhatsApp currently allows starting group calls with 15 people at once, but ringing participants isn’t convenient. With the new voice chats feature, the Meta-owned chatting app has tried to copy Twitter Spaces and Discord voice chat rooms, where people can join or leave ongoing conversations as they please.
The feature will apparently be open to up to 32 speakers at a time, but will be available to groups bigger than that limit despite this, so it should be fairly flexible.
This basically means that when you open the chat in question in WhatsApp, you’ll see a banner to let you know that there are people in the voice server talking and giving you the option to join if it isn’t full, rather than having to schedule a call and have them answer it.
You’ll also be able to set up notifications to let you know when someone starts a chat – again, that’s way less disruptive than getting a full-on call that you have to accept or reject.
This system could be a dream for bigger communities and groups that want to stay in touch but don’t have the ability to hold regular all-hands calls, whether it’s to organise something or just chat.
When do WhatsApp voice chats go live?
The new voice chat system is seemingly already in testing in one of WhatsApp’s many beta branches, so there are some users who might already have access if they’re WhatsApp beta testers.
That said, there’s no real rule to follow about how long it’ll take for this feature to actually roll out to normal users on various platforms – it’s taken different times for different things to arrive historically.
Voice chats have multiple advantages as opposed to conventional group calls because you won’t have to add participants manually, and unlike calls, you could use it as a live stream of sorts too. It is also fantastic for impromptu calls and discussions about certain topics. The beta is rolling out widely and some stable channel users may get to test it out as well.
Still, we’re hopeful that voice chats on WhatsApp could launch sometime this year, so we’ll be keeping an ear to the ground for any official word from WhatsApp itself.
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