WhatsApp is rolling out a new update through the Google Play Beta Program, bringing the version up to 126.96.36.199.
What’s new in this update? WhatsApp is rolling out voice chats, a new feature to communicate in your groups, and it’s available to some beta testers!
|Name of the feature?||Voice chats|
|Compatibility?||WhatsApp beta for Android 188.8.131.52 is marked as a compatible update, but some lucky beta testers may be able to get the same feature by installing certain previous updates of the app. However, this appears as a wider release.|
|I’ve installed this update but I don’t have this feature. Why?||This feature is available to some beta testers, and it’s rolling out to more users over the coming days.|
|Thanks:||ori rund, flakoflow_25, and nirel, for testing and reporting!|
|Previous news?||WhatsApp beta for Android 184.108.40.206: what’s new? WhatsApp is rolling out an admin review feature for group chats!|
In our article about the WhatsApp beta for Android 220.127.116.11 update, we shared information regarding a feature in development: audio chats. With this feature, WhatsApp had plans to offer group participants a new way to initiate voice calls. In the same article, we explained that the feature may appear unclear as there was no detailed information about how it works. However, thanks to the latest WhatsApp beta for Android 18.104.22.168 update from the Google Play Store, WhatsApp is rolling out audio chats, now called voice chats, to some beta testers, and we discovered important details about how this feature works!
As shown in the attached screenshot, a new voice waveform icon may be visible within a group chat in case the feature is enabled for the account and compatible with the group. Tapping on this icon will automatically start the voice chat, and a dedicated interface will appear. Anyone in the group chat can join the voice chat at any time and start speaking. If the voice chat remains empty, it will automatically end after 60 minutes if no one joins. However, anyone can still start another voice chat at any time.
It’s important to note that voice chats are only accessible to certain groups. Generally, they might be available in groups with more than 32 participants (though only up to 32 participants might be able to join a voice chat). However, it’s worth noting that this configuration may vary depending on the user.
The primary advantage of voice chats is that they allow for initiating a call without ringing the phone of each participant in the group. Nevertheless, every group participant will still get a silent push notification when a new voice chat is created in their groups, and the group icon will display a small thumbnail representing a voice chat within the chat list. It’s important to highlight that voice chats are also protected by end-to-end encryption, ensuring that only the participants of a voice call can listen to its contents.
The ability to start voice chats is available to some users that install the latest WhatsApp beta for Android updates from the Google Play Store, and it is rolling out to even more people over the coming days. However, this appears as a wider release so some users on stable version of the app might be able to experiment with the same feature.
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