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WhatsApp just got a killer upgrade to take on Zoom

WhatsApp just got the web video and audio calling abilities it sorely needs. It’s just a shame it’ll still be some time before it can properly take on Zoom and other similar rivals.

There have been hints that this feature was on the way for some time, but now WABetaInfo has evidence of this, with screenshots showing the WhatsApp desktop client offering buttons to start an audio or video call. 

Here’s a close-up of what the top bar of the WhatsApp client looks like with video and audio calls enabled.

(Image credit: WABetaInfo)

When you select one of these buttons, a pop-out window then appears from which you control the call. It includes the features you’d expect such as video and audio on/off and the hang-up button.

WhatsApp desktop calls

(Image credit: WABetaInfo)

WhatsApp’s biggest weakness is how reliant it is on users’ phones. Being able to read messages and send files from the desktop is acceptable, but not having the option to make calls is a big gap in its feature set.

WhatsApp desktop calls

(Image credit: WABetaInfo)

Rival messaging services like Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Zoom are all built around video calls, which you can make from either the desktop or mobile versions of the apps. However these services are primarily intended for business use. Also they need subscription payments to access all the features, some of which are irrelevant for the average user.

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