WhatsApp announces improved video calling feature for mobile and desktop apps

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WhatsApp on Thursday announced several improvements to its video calling features for mobile and desktop users. The participant limit for group video calls has been increased across platforms, allowing up to 32 participants to join a single call, up from the previous support of eight on the WhatsApp desktop app. Apart from the expansion of the video calling feature, users can also share their audio while sharing their screen with other participants.

WhatsApp improves video calling on mobile and desktop apps

The Meta-owned instant messaging platform revealed in a blog post that the latest update will bring improvements to screen sharing on the app. According to the company, when a user is watching a video with other participants while sharing their screen, they will also be able to share the audio playing.

WhatsApp has also revealed an increase in the number of participants who can join a video call simultaneously. While 32 mobile users can join a call, previously the number was limited to eight for users on the desktop app. Now this has been made uniform across all devices and 32 participants can be part of a video call, no matter which platform a user is joining from.

A new ‘Speaker Spotlight’ feature will also be introduced, which will highlight the current speaker on a video call. In theory, this could prove useful when attending video calls in large groups, allowing users to easily identify speakers without needing to go through the participant list.

WhatsApp says the new features will be rolled out to users on mobile and desktop platforms in the coming weeks.

WhatsApp’s new codec for audio calls

In addition to the video calling features, the Meta platform has also introduced a new tool that aims to improve call quality. According to Meta, this feature – known as the Meta Low Bitrate (MLO) codec – helps compress captured audio/video for efficient transfer over the internet.

Although compression often comes at the cost of quality, Meta says the MLow codec is an upgrade over the previous open source Opus codec and can improve audio quality, especially on slower connections. This codec was already available on other Meta platforms like Instagram and Messenger, and is now being rolled out to WhatsApp as well.


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