WhatsApp adds voice and video calls to your desktop app, allowing users to make and answer calls on their computers. This is a welcome new feature, but it’s not yet zoom-enabled.
The ability to call and answer on WhatsApp, announced in today’s blog post, was previously only available on mobile apps, limiting desktop users to humble peasant-like text. Computer users who use webcams can share a glossy forehead vision, but only one at a time.
Like text chat, WhatsApp voice and video calls have end-to-end encryption. That is, the company cannot snoop on you and your long-term (or socially distant) partner on a perfectly healthy date night. This makes it feel safer to reveal the names of embarrassing pets and show each other a collection of stamps.
However, multiple WhatsApp users will have to keep messing around with their phones, at least for now. Video and voice call via the desktop app only work one-on-one at startup, but the WaitApp will eventually be extended to enable conference calls. However, at this time, this limitation on the number of call participants is not a good alternative to Zoom meetings in the office.
WhatsApp desktop voice and video calls work between computers and between computers, so you don’t have to worry about whether the other party can answer your device. The desktop app is compatible with both portrait mode and mobile landscape mode for non-transferable video calls. That’s good news for anyone who has had to interrupt someone to tell them to spin the phone.
Additionally, WhatsApp desktop videos appear in a standalone window that can be resized and stay on top of other windows, helping the partners maintain very accurate representations. If this is a date night they really should have, but I am not going to teach you how to manage your relationship.
Some rumors of WhatsApp’s desktop voice and video calling capabilities have been raging for some time and it has been reported that it has been working for several years. With the coronavirus pandemic spreading with many people away from loved ones and the increasing demand for video conferencing, this appears to be the ideal time to finally unfold.
WhatsApp desktop apps are now available on both Mac and PC.