WhatsApp finally brings voice and video calls to desktop

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After months of beta testing, WhatsApp finally launched voice and video calls to its desktop app today.

The app only supports individual calls at the moment, but the company plans to add group calls in the future. All calls are end-to-end encrypted to protect your secrets from underhand eavesdropping.

The new feature will help the platform capitalize on the explosive growth of video calling since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Downloads of video conferencing apps like Zoom hit record levels during the pandemic, and WhatsApp has had its own increase in usage.

On New Years Eve 2020, users made a single-day record of 1.4 billion voice and video calls. The extension of the service to the office gives them a bigger screen for their calls. It also removes the need for awkwardly hold or support a phone while chatting.

WhatsApp Web users could previously make video calls by creating Facebook Messenger rooms, but can now do so directly in the app.

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Functionality comes at a difficult time for the business. A controversial update of the privacy policy of the app has pushed millions of users to competing services.

While competitors Telegram and Signal already offer office calling, WhatsApp’s addition of the feature could convince some to stay on the platform.

The company may also have ambitions to compete with video conferencing powerhouses Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet. But that won’t be possible until the group calls arrive on the desktop.

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