WhatsApp on Thursday announced that voice and video calling has been added as a new feature on its desktop app for Windows and Mac, a move that will now allow users to make calls through their desktop PCs or laptops. In December last year, the Facebook-owned application started rolling out voice and video calls from the desktop app for select users only.
“Answering on a bigger screen makes it easier to work with colleagues, see your family more clearly on a bigger canvas, or free up your hands to move around a room while talking,” the company said in its official announcement of the new feature.
The instant messaging platform said voice and video calls are end-to-end encrypted, calling from a mobile device or a desktop PC does not matter. The security and privacy features will remain the same, so WhatsApp can’t hear or see them whether the call is made from phones or computers.
“We’re starting with one-to-one calls on the WhatsApp desktop app so we make sure we can give you a reliable and high-quality experience. We will be expanding this feature to include group voice and video calls in the future,” it added.
To ensure easy operability on the desktop app, WhatsApp has made arrangements for it to work seamlessly on portrait and landscape orientation and appear in a standalone, resizable window to suit the user’s needs. It is set to appear on top so that users don’t lose their video chats amid a stack of open windows or browser tabs.
Notably, WhatsApp also said that users can only place one-to-one calls from the desktop app and said that this is to ensure that a “reliable and high-quality” experience is being delivered. Group voice and video calls will reportedly be included in the future.
WhatsApp said in its press release that it has seen a notable increase in users calling one another through the app.
“Last New Year’s Eve, we broke the record for the most calls ever made in a single day with 1.4 billion voice and video calls. 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, regardless of where you are in the world or the tech you’re using,” WhatsApp said.
Earlier in January, face and fingerprint unlock when linking devices was also announced by the company as another new security feature for WhatsApp Web and Desktop. “This adds a layer of protection when you want to link your WhatsApp account to your computer,” the company said. With the new feature, users will be asked to link their WhatsApp accounts to their computer via Face ID or fingerprint.