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WhatsApp video chat supports groups of up to 8 people ahead of Rooms integration

Published Apr 28th, 2020 7:31AM EDT
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Image: Facebook

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  • WhatsApp video chat now supports up to eight people thanks to a new update that’s currently rolling out to users.
  • WhatsApp video calls are end-to-end encrypted, unlike the newly released Messenger Rooms video conferencing app.
  • WhatsApp will also receive Rooms support soon, a new leak reveals.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

The novel coronavirus pandemic altered the way we live our lives, forcing us to spend more time indoors than we’d have wanted. But as annoying as these social measures might seem, they’re a necessity. Staying away from other people might save your life and theirs, as it’ll help curb the transmission of COVID-19. Thankfully, technology is here to help at every step of the way. Thanks to the internet, any smart device can be turned into an entertainment platform. YouTube, Netflix, Spotify, and any other streaming platform is ready to deliver instant access to movies, TV shows, and music. Games are also one tap away. And for those who have to study or work from home, there’s plenty of software to get the job done.

It’s actually the COVID-19 pandemic that made video chat apps even more popular, with Zoom being the clear winner. Zoom may have been riddled with privacy and security issues, but the video conferencing software is incredibly easy to use, whether it’s for school/work or for talking to your friends and family. Google updated its Meets platform to replicate some of Zoom’s features. Facebook just launched Messenger Rooms, a Zoom-like video chat app that works on any devices, regardless of whether you have a Facebook account. The app will also soon work with Instagram Direct, Portal, and WhatsApp. While you wait, you can at least take advantage of WhatsApp’s newest video calling feature, support for up to eight people.

WhatsApp doubled the maximum number of participants in video calls from the previous maximum of four, a feature that was in the works for several weeks. If you have WhatsApp installed on iPhone and Android, you’ll notice there’s an update pending, which will enable the functionality on your device.

After the upgrade, you’ll be able to expand video calls with your friends and family for up to eight people, but all of them will need to be on the same version of the app.

Messenger Rooms is the much better option if you need to invite more than eight people to join your video conference. Rooms supports up to 50 users, with no time limit. All you have to do is share the Room with them.

Facebook said that Rooms support will be available in other products, including WhatsApp, without revealing any rollout plans. But WaBetaInfo, the blog that announces new WhatsApp features before they’re official, found Rooms traces in the WhatsApp beta for Android 2.20.139.

Image source: WaBetaInfo

That means WhatsApp users will be able to create a Room right inside that chat/group share sheet.

The Room will be created in Messenger, WhatsApp will apparently tell you, which is an important detail. Unlike WhatsApp video chats that are end-to-end encrypted, Rooms video calls won’t have the same level of encryption. Even WhatsApp chats that include up to eight people will be encrypted, according to the imagery Facebook used to demo the feature (see top image).

Image source: WaBetaInfo

Getting back to WhatsApp’s Rooms support, it’s unclear when it’ll be rolled out.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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