In the early part of 2018, Facebook-owned WhatsApp announced they currently have more than 1.5 billion monthly active users. This is the result of a massive boost in global user base in just the last two years, and its result is roughly 2 billion minutes spent on calls—and 65 billion messages sent—every single day.
Also early this year, WhatsApp announced the eventual addition of group calling for both voice and video calls. This, of course, is intended to take on one of Apple’s biggest features—FaceTime—but they are not quite the same.
For one, Group FaceTime allows for up to 32 total people to have the conversation at the same time, but that feature will not be available until the iOS 12 update. Still, WhatsApp’s new group call feature will only allow for as many as four users to talk at once. Furthermore, to initiate a simultaneous four-way call you just need to use the “add participant” button (located in the top right corner) when already on a one-on-one voice or video call.
What is most important, perhaps, the company describes: “Group calls are always end-to-end encrypted, and we’ve designed calling to work reliably around the world in different network conditions.”
Of course, it is important to also note that India is WhatsApp’s largest market (with more than 250 million users, and a vast majority of these rely solely on mobile data). As such, it makes a lot of sense for the company to optimize the feature to work on the more remote 2G and 3G networks. It also makes sense that WhatsApp would want to add more ways for users in this market to communicate with other users since only a few weeks ago, WhatsApp has limited message forwarding in India after a surge in mob violence and lynchings; in an attempt to stop the spreading of misinformation throughout the country.
With all that in mind, WhatsApp is rolling out the feature globally this week. So if you have not received the Group call option yet, just give it a few more days.