WhatsApp is bringing the call feature to its web and desktop client bringing it closer to conferencing platforms like Zoom and Skype. This is according to WABetaInfo which keeps a close eye on everything WhatsApp. They say users will be able to make both voice and video calls to web users. “WhatsApp is considering the idea to offer Voice and Video Calls in the next few weeks, even if the development is in a beta-stage.”
From the screenshots we can see, it looks like calls will pop up in a new window and will give users the flexibility of accepting or declining an incoming call. It’s apparently bringing nearly all the main features of the phone app video calls in that you can mute and switch between voice and video calls.
WhatsApp for web was launched in 2015 and since then usage has grown but you still had to be logged in to the phone app to use it. The phone app had far more features than the web client making users still largely dependent on the app but with the imminent launch of the voice and video call feature for WhatsApp web, users who prefer this can get some level of independence. But while WhatsApp may still require you to login to the web client via its phone app, WhatsApp is reportedly working on a linked device login that will see users access WhatsApp from multiple devices. This feature makes sense for those who have business accounts who may need multiple people responding to customer requests. The feature also makes sense for those who wish to monitor closely the activity of staff who may be in different locations.
That said, the path WhatsApp is on looks like that of a fully independent phone app from the web/desktop client and this is necessary if it must truly take on Zoom and Skype for example. Both platforms already have their mobile apps independent from their web platforms.
But WhatsApp has been proactive especially in this lockdown season that has seen many working remotely. The Facebook owned company increased the number of group video calls from four to eight to accommodate the demand. We don’t know exactly what date the call feature comes to desktop but WABetaInfo says it’s pretty soon and they’ve been right most of the time.