WhatsApp rolls out video and voice calls to desktop users

WhatsApp is rolling out video and voice calls to desktop users, starting with one-on-one calls, or however many people can fit on one screen. — WhatsApp

WhatsApp is expanding its call feature to desktop users, noting record numbers of video and voice calls through its app.

On its blog, the developers said the roll-out would start with one-to-one voice and video calls, which will expand to include group calls in the future.

The video calls would work in both portrait or landscape orientation, and appear as a resizable standalone window which is set to be always on top so it doesn’t get buried under a stack of open windows or lost in a browser tab.

“Throughout the last year we’ve seen significant increases in people calling one another on WhatsApp, often for long conversations. 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, ” said the instant messaging company.

It added that a bigger screen would make it easier to work with colleagues, see who you’re speaking to more clearly, and free up a user to move around the room while talking.

It assured that voice and video calls are end-to-end encrypted, whether on the phone or computer, so WhatsApp cannot hear or see them.

Although the feature is being rolled out immediately, many users complained on Twitter that they weren’t able to use it yet.

Some were recommended to update their software to the latest version, and reminded to use the desktop app, as the feature isn’t yet available for browser and iPad users.

According to the FAQ, desktop calling is supported on Windows 10 64-bit version 1903 and newer, or MacOS 10.13 and newer.

To make or receive calls on desktop, users will need to grant WhatsApp permission to access their computer’s microphone and camera – the former for voice calls only, while video calls will require access to both.

Users will also need an active Internet connection to their computer and phone. The phone needs to be connected in order to establish the call, though the call will not go through the phone.

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