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WhatsApp introduces voice and video calling feature to desktop version

SCI & TECH
By Fredrick Obura | March 4th 2021

NAIROBI, KENYA: You can now make one-to-one voice and video calls on WhatsApp from your desktop.

On Thursday Facebook said subscribers will be able to use desktop screens for calls in both portrait and landscape mode, and the calls will be end-to-end encrypted.

Throughout the last year, Facebook said it has seen a significant increase in people calling one another on WhatsApp, often for long conversations.

“With so many people still apart from their loved ones, and adjusting to new ways of working, we want conversations on WhatsApp to feel as close to in-person as possible,” read a statement from the company

“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.”

In addressing the issue of security with the new application, Facebook said the 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.
The company will start with one-to-one calls on the WhatsApp desktop and will be expanding the feature to include group voice and video calls in the future.

The move to facilitate calls over large screens would put WhatsApp on par with video-conferencing bigwigs Zoom and Google Meet, but it is not clear if it has ambitions to compete with the two in the enterprise space.

WhatsApp, which recorded 1.4 billion voice and video calls on last New Year’s Eve, has benefited from the COVID-19 pandemic as people around the world used video-calling apps to stay connected while sheltering themselves at home.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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