Facebook has announced that WhatsApp will now allow eight people in a video chat, up from the previous limit of four. The update is a reaction to the boom in video calling as people stay connected while most of the world is in lockdown.
It was announced at the same time as Messenger Rooms, a new Facebook service that apes Zoom and allows for up to 50 people in a video chat.
WhatsApp, unlike Facebook Messenger, uses end-to-end encryption and so can be considered more secure. It’s a little surprising that the limit is only eight people though, given Google Duo allows for 12.
Perhaps WhatsApp has straight copied Houseparty’s eight person limit, though given WhatsApp is an exclusively phone-based app, eight is the most video boxes the app can fit on a smartphone screen before you can’t see what’s going on.
Video calling has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years but since the coronavirus pandemic has changed modern life and meant people are using all video services significantly more, tech companies are ramping up development and bringing forward service updates.
WhatsApp hasn’t changed its core service much since it was bought by Facebook for $19bn in 2014, instead using its Messenger service as a test bed for all its wacky innovations. Messenger was recently scaled back somewhat after it became overran with superfluous features.