As of July 30, WhatsApp's group video chats have started rolling out to users worldwide. You're limited to just four people though, so this might not replace your business conferencing software of choice just yet.
The feature has been in limited testing for a little while now, and although the global release is now underway, the update might still take a little bit of time to reach your device.
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In a blog post announcing the the rollout, WhatsApp has said that video calls benefit from the same end-to-end encryption as messages.
You start a group video chat by opening a regular one-on-one conversation and adding new participants via the ‘add participant’ button at the top right of the screen.
It would be great to see a slicker integration with existing WhatsApp groups to immediately turn them into video calls, but with so many chats featuring more than four participants this might not be technically feasible.
WhatsApp vs FaceTime, Skype, and Google Hangouts
With the rollout of group video chats, WhatsApp joins a growing number of other apps that offer the same functionality. At WWDC earlier this year, Apple announced that it is adding group video chats for up to 32 people, and Skype and Google Hangouts already support group chats for up to 25 participants.
In this context, WhatsApp’s four-person limit seems a little low, but considering it’s a mobile app rather than desktop video conferencing software, this isn’t entirely unexpected.
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Additionally, in our experience we’ve tended to find that network latency is the biggest limiting factor for massive Google Hangouts calls, rather than the hard 25-participant limit.
How big do you think a video conference can get before it becomes too much? Let us know @TrustedReviews.