WhatsApp could take on Zoom with this huge update

WhatsApp on both a phone and a desktop.
(Image credit: Mykolastock/Shutterstock)

WhatsApp is looking to increase the maximum number of people allowed in a single audio or video call, in response to rival VOIP services that have much higher limits.

Seen by WABetaInfo (via XDA Developers), the latest Android beta version of WhatsApp contains code suggesting that users with the latest version of the app will be able to hold calls with more people. There isn't a specific number given, although WABetaInfo says it will be an even number. There is also no indication of when this feature will be added.

WhatsApp, primarily a text messaging app used widely in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world, introduced audio and video calls two years ago, but has always had a four-user limit in place.

Since many countries around the world have introduced lockdown measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic, many people working from home have had to rely on services like Google Hangouts and Zoom. These allow up to 250 users to participate at once, although some of them require paid subscriptions for doing so.

We shouldn't expect WhatsApp to match up to these, since it's a free service. But if it could match up to the 50 person cap that Skype has, then it would likely see a lot of use from smaller businesses or for personal calls.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.