While many users have been using the desktop version of WhatsApp to send messages, they were unable to make voice or video calls, until now.
The messaging app has rolled out the feature to all users. In particular, the being able to make video calls on a larger screen may allow it to attract native Zoom users who have been staying in touch with loved ones virtually online during the pandemic.
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,” the company said in a blog post.
“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.”
While the new feature only extends to one-to-one calls for now, WhatsApp said it intends to roll out a group voice and video calls feature in the future.
The Facebook-owned company also highlighted that desktop calling would be “private and secure”.
“Voice and video calls on WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted, so WhatsApp can’t hear or see them, whether you call from your phone or your computer.”
Privacy and WhatsApp
The backlash forced the messaging app to postpone the update from February until May, to allow the company time to roll out clearer messaging around any terms and conditions that would change.
Last month, WhatsApp announced plans to roll out an information campaign to “clear up any confusion” about its update.
“We’ve reflected on what we could have done better here,” it said. “We’re now using our Status feature to share our values and updates directly within WhatsApp. We’ll be doing much more to make our voice clear going forward.”
The controversy led many users to alternative messaging apps such as Signal and Telegram.
WhatsApp addressed this, saying: “Other apps say they’re better because they know even less information than WhatsApp. We believe people are looking for apps to be both reliable and safe, even if that requires WhatsApp having some limited data.”