BERLIN: Group calls on WhatsApp are getting a little less annoying thanks to three new features designed to be useful on conversations with lots of participants.
Among the features, expected to be particularly handy for businesses using WhatsApp, is a mute option for when someone isn't speaking but is still making loud and distracting noises.
The app now also lets you send direct messages to other participants while you're on a call, for example to share link to something you were talking about or give them a prompt without interrupting the call.
During the pandemic, WhatsApp expanded the maximum number of participants to 32. However the app had been lacking much of the feature set of platforms like Zoom that make online conference calls somewhat more tolerable.
There's also a new kind of banner notifications for when a new participant joins the group voice call but cannot be seen on your own screen due to the group size and limited display space.
In these instances, WhatsApp will show you a banner notification saying "XYZ has joined the call". This way you can be sure to always know if and when someone has joined - and who they are.
WhatsApp has had a busy year of adding new features as it tries to stay competitive in a growing field of chat apps, with rivals like Signal and Telegram steadily adding new features and followers.
In May, WhatsApp added instant message reactions like thumbs up and shock emojis, while in March users got a host of new options for recording and playing voice messages. – dpa