Meta just launched a fairly robust update to its popular chat platform WhatsApp, focusing on the calling system.
First up, the app has significantly increased the maximum number of call participants from eight to 32. That’s a whole lot of happy chaos, so the company also added features to make these crowded calls more manageable. For example, you can activate a new mute function just by long-pressing on a participant.
This long press is not just for muting, however. It also opens a menu to message the participant, enlarge their feed, or increase their audio.
WhatsApp is playing a bit of catch-up here, too, by launching call links for group calls, finally ending the tyranny of the malevolent phone number. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other chat apps that specialize in large groups have had this feature for a long time now.
Plenty of other nifty add-ons to the group calling experience have also been added. For example, in-call banner notifications now appear when someone new enters the chat, and there are colorful waveforms that represent audio if a participant turned off their camera.
Meta says iOS users are even getting picture-in-picture functionality, but not until 2023 since the feature is still in beta.
The rest of these features are all available now, so go ahead and invite 31 friends to a spoiler-filled discussion about season two of The White Lotus or, you know, talk about the holidays or whatever.