Bottom line: WhatsApp has added support for private and secure one-to-one voice and video calls to its Windows and Mac desktop apps. The addition might not appeal to those that prefer to use the mobile version of WhatsApp but for desktop warriors, it's a nice alternative to Zoom.
The Facebook-owned messaging and VoIP service said that over the last year, they saw a meaningful uptick in people calling one another on WhatsApp. On New Year's Eve, for example, the service set a new personal best for the most calls made in a single day with 1.4 billion voice and video calls.
WhatsApp made sure to optimize its new features specifically for the desktop, ensuring they work in both landscape and portrait mode. What's more, calls appear in a resizable standalone window that is set to always be on top so they don't get lost in a browser tab or behind other windows.
As with other forms of communication on WhatsApp, voice and video calls on the desktop are end-to-end encrypted, meaning WhatsApp can't hear or see them.
The company is starting out with one-to-one calls on the desktop app first to ensure a reliable and high-quality experience. Eventually, the feature will be expanded to include group voice and video calls, we're told.
WhatsApp has shown no signs of slowing down its rollout of new features as of late. Back in January, the company added face and fingerprint authentication to its web and desktop platforms, and in late 2020, we saw the introduction of disappearing messages.
Image courtesy Antonio Salaverry