WhatsApp expands voice and video calling feature to desktop app

WION Web Team
New York, United States of America Published: Mar 04, 2021, 07.00 PM(IST)

WhatsApp Photograph:( Reuters )

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The company said users would now be able to use desktop screens for calls in both portrait and landscape mode, and the calls will be end-to-end encrypted.

Facebook Inc's WhatsApp has introduced a voice and video calling feature on its desktop version, the company said on Thursday.

The company said users would now be able to use desktop screens for calls in both portrait and landscape mode, and the calls will be end-to-end encrypted.

The move to facilitate calls over large screens would put WhatsApp on par with video-conferencing bigwigs Zoom and Google Meet, but it is not clear if it has ambitions to compete with the two in the enterprise space.

The Facebook-owned company said voice and video calls on the platform are end-to-end encrypted, and so WhatsApp can't hear or see them whether the call is made from phones or computers.

"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," it added.

WhatsApp said there has been a significant increase in people calling one another on WhatsApp over the last year and often for long conversations, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic induced lockdown.

"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," WhatsApp said.

It noted that to make desktop calling more useful, the company has made sure it works seamlessly for both portrait and landscape orientation appears in a resizable standalone window on computer screens and is set to be always on top so users never lose video chats in a browser tab or stack of open windows.

Users would need an active internet connection on their computer and phone. The call won't go through the phone, but it needs to be online to establish the call. Additionally, users would need to grant WhatsApp permission to access the computer's microphone and camera for the video calls.

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