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WhatsApp could adopt a very Zoom-like feature

  • WhatsApp is set to roll out a new “group call scheduling” feature in the coming weeks.
  • The feature is similar to the way you can schedule meetings on Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
  • It can be used to send a calendar invite to a voice or video call and will even send a notification to remind users 15 minutes before the call, all right on WhatsApp.

Today in things no one has ever wanted, it has been revealed that Meta’s WhatsApp is working on a call, or meeting scheduling feature that would be easily recognised by anyone who has ever had to use Microsoft Teams or Zoom.

Officially, the feature is being called “Schedule Group Calls” and was first included in version 2.23.4.4 of WhatsApp beta for Android. WABetaInfo found the feature and now reports that scheduling is being moved into the rolling-out phase.

Image sourced from WABetaInfo.

As per screenshots, the feature allows you to create a calendar event to schedule group voice calls right from the WhatsApp mobile app within chats themselves. You can send other users schedules of which they will be reminded about 15 minutes before the call starts.

The type of group call can also be selected, whether voice or video. WhatsApp allows a maximum of 32 participants for video calls.

Once started, users will receive a pop-up that they can join the call or cancel. It seems for now the feature is relegated to groups and cannot be done from user to user but you can get around this by making a temporary two-person group. In whichever case, this feature will be most beneficial to businesses and educational institutions that leverage WhatsApp for their official communications.

Scheduling group calls may be WhatsApp’s way of cornering that niche Zoom market looking for methods to meet virtually. The app has over 2 billion users worldwide so it stands to reason that many could just begin scheduling meetings on the app itself and never have to cross the fence to Zoom or Teams.

One problem we can pick out with the entire setup is that the scheduling meeting prompts aren’t sent to your email addresses. But since it is likely that most people use WhatsApp daily more often than mail, this could be a non-issue.

Either way, Meta seems keen to continue its motto of “if you can’t beat them, copy them and leverage our enormous user base to beat them.” The company basically remade X (the former Twitter) for its Instagram Threads platform, and then saw massive user growth in a matter of days. The two apps are so similar that X hired a lawyer because it thought that Meta was using former staff to build the new platform.

The WhatsApp group call scheduling feature is now available on the latest beta build for WhatsApp on Android, and is set to begin rolling out to more users in the coming weeks.

[Image – Photo by Dimitri Karastelev on Unsplash]

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