WhatsApp Voice And Video Calling From Desktop: A Threat To Zoom And Google Meet?

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WhatsApp voice and video calling from desktop could be a game changer for many companies.

Whatsapp recently added a massive feature to its desktop app while it continues to woo users who got spooked by it’s updated privacy policy.

On Thursday, the Facebook-owned instant messaging app rolled out support for both video and voice calling in its desktop app. Now users can finally get rid of the frustration to reach out to their smartphone every time they receive a WhatsApp voice or video call while sitting in front of their PC or laptops.

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The company mentioned that its desktop app for Windows and Mac will currently be supporting only one-to-one video/voice calls. However, it will soon be expanding the same in the near future to include group calling as well.

According to a company spokesperson, video/voice calls on WhatsApp desktop client will also be end-to-end encrypted similar to its mobile app.

The desktop video calling feature on Whatsapp will work seamlessly both in the portrait and landscape orientation. It will be set to the top of the desktop app by default so that users never lose their video chats in a browser tab or amid a stack of open windows. WhatsApp started testing the feature with a small beta user group in late 2020. 

Note here that the Whatsapp desktop calling feature is strictly limited to the native apps on PC/Laptop and users must not be confused for WhatsApp Web – the browser version of the instant messaging app. The addition of the WhatsApp desktop calling feature native PC client will provide a lot of convenience to its users who previously needed to switch to Zoom or Google Meet to get on a one-to-one video call from their PC.

WhatsApp which is used by a whopping 2 billion people all over the world hasn’t revealed any usage statistics about its video and voice calling separately. Although, it has shared that it is handling over 1 billion calls on a daily basis. 

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WhatsApp Feature Rollout Spree: An Attempt To Whitewash Its Updated Privacy Privacy?

Now, prior to 2020, the Facebook-owned messaging app had built up quite a reputation for taking a significant amount of time to push a single feature or improvement on its app. But, it is no longer the case anymore. From the past year onwards, it has visibly adopted a more aggressive approach to rapidly add new features. 

In January, Facebook added several privacy-focused features such as the opt-in biometric face, fingerprint and iris scan authentication for both WhatsApp’s mobile and desktop app. 

Prior to that, late last year, it rolled out ephemeral messages – a feature that enables everything including chats, photos and other media to disappear after seven days. And, also introduced its payment service WhatsApp Pay in India.

As of now, besides the announcement of the Whatsapp desktop call feature, the messaging platform is reportedly testing another feature that will enable an image to self-destruct or self erase as soon as the recipient of the photo exits in the chat window.

These rampant feature additions come at a time when WhatsApp is attempting to convince its users to agree to its updated terms of use and privacy policy – something which received massive backlash and bad press as soon as it was introduced. Many WhatsApp users immediately fled to different platforms in hopes of salvaging their user data while many started calling out the app’s parent company Facebook to stop infringing on users’ privacy.

Thus, it begs the question if WhatsApp’s recent feature rollout spree is a desperate attempt to woo its users back and whitewash its updated privacy policy at the same time. The answer to it remains unknown at present.

On the other hand, the launch of the Whatsapp desktop calling feature – in addition to the rollout plan of the group calling in near future – is also been seen as a direct threat to Zoom and Google Meet. In the total absence of WhatsApp calling from desktop, Zoom and Google Meet successfully served the need of users who were looking for desktop communication for ease of communication and working from a single device. The unprecedented growth of these video conferencing platforms justifies the thought of Whatsapp being late to the party.

Now, it would be interesting to see how much Whatsapp desktop calling feature could eat into the market of other platforms, which have been riding on the success since the beginning of the worldwide lockdown.

Nonetheless, no matter what, Facebook will surely reintroduce the updated privacy policy to WhatsApp users in the near future. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.

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