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WhatsApp adds voice and video calls on desktop, but there’s a catch

WhatsApp has added the ability to make voice and video calls via its under-served desktop app for Windows and macOS.

The new functionality was announced on the WhatsApp blog, giving users a taste of the experience they’ve enjoyed on the mobile app.

However, for the time being, WhatsApp desktop users will only be able to make one-on-one voice and video calls. As on desktop, the calls will be end-to-end encrypted, a point the company has been keen to drive home recently, amid concerns over its privacy policy.

WhatsApp says the video call functionality will be especially useful thanks to a resizable window that will remain atop your browser windows, for instance.

Related: Is WhatsApp safe?

In the blog post, the company writes: “Answering on a bigger screen makes it easier to work with colleagues, see your family more clearly on a bigger canvas, or free up your hands to move around a room while talking. To make desktop calling more useful, we made sure it works seamlessly for both portrait and landscape orientation, appears in a resizable standalone window on your computer screen, and is set to be always on top so you never lose your video chats in a browser tab or stack of open windows.”

However, the inability to engage in video or voice calls with more than one other participant will mean folks will need to revert to their mobile device, or use a desktop friendly platform like Zoom or Google Meet for conference calls. WhatsApp does say it plans on expanding in the future, once it has one-on-one calls nailed down.

“We’re starting with one-to-one calls on the WhatsApp desktop app so we make sure we can give you a reliable and high-quality experience. We will be expanding this feature to include group voice and video calls in the future,” the company adds.

The feature is available now on Mac and Windows PC.

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