WhatsApp has started rolling out a new Discord-like calling feature for large groups — dubbed Voice Chats.
WhatsApp head Will Cathcart announced the rollout on his official WhatsApp channel on Monday, 13 November 2023.
It comes after WABetaInfo reported that the popular chat app had started testing the feature on its beta apps in August 2023.
Voice Chats will initially only be available on Android and iOS mobile apps for groups with over 32 members.
While WhatsApp already supports group voice calls, this can only handle up to 32 members simultaneously.
In addition, initialising a group voice call will ring all the phones of the members in that group.
Voice Chats supports between 33 and 128 participants and functions more passively.
WhatsApp will send a silent notification to all group members when a new voice chat is started.
Any group member will be able to see and join it when they open the group.
Those who have not joined the chat can view current participants in a chat header at the top of their screen and in the Calls tab.
This is similar to how a Discord channel functions, so the feature might appeal to gamers or organisations looking for similar functionality in WhatsApp.
It is important to emphasise that communication on a voice chat is end-to-end encrypted, so these conservations should be just as secure as other messaging on WhatsApp.
To start using Voice Chats in large groups, you must update your app to the latest version of WhatsApp for Android or WhatsApp for iOS from their respective app stores.