WhatsApp is rolling out a new Discord-like voice chat feature for large groups, the Meta-owned company announced on Monday. The new feature is designed to be less disruptive than a group call, which rings every member in a group. Voice chats are started quietly without any ringing involved with an in-chat bubble that you tap to join.
The feature lets you talk about things with whoever can join, while allowing you to keep messaging those who can’t. You can quickly unmute, hang up or message the group without having to leave the voice chat by clicking on the call controls at the top of the chat.
The company is rolling out voice chats globally to large groups over the coming weeks, starting with those that have 33 people or more. WhatsApp notes that it protects voice chats with end-to-end encryption by default.
Voice chats on WhatsApp essentially function the same as similar features on Discord, Telegram and Slack, as they allow large groups of people to connect over a spoken chat.
The launch of the new feature doesn’t exactly come as surprise, as WABetaInfo reported back in August that WhatsApp was testing voice chats in beta.
Today’s announcement comes as WhatsApp has been adding a slew of features to its platform over the past few months. The company recently rolled out the ability for users to use two accounts simultaneously. It also launched passkey support on Android, along with a new “Flows” functionality to boost its shopping experience by letting users do things like pick a seat on a flight or book an appointment without leaving the app.
The launch also comes a few weeks after Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared during the company’s Q3 earnings call that users and businesses are interacting more than 600 million times per day across its platforms. Zuckerberg noted that family of apps and other revenue was $293 million in Q3, up 53% year-over-year, largely driven by the WhatsApp Business platform.