Following the launch of a separate WhatsApp for Business application and integrating UPI Payments in its native app, WhatsApp is reportedly testing a number of new features for Android through its beta program. A number of new features are spotted in latest WhatsApp beta versions for Android and iOS platforms. These features include group voice & video calling, group description, standalone iPad application, broader WhatsApp Pay support, and Facebook Messenger like Stickers. Let’s take a look at the features WhatsApp planning to introduce in the next updates.
Add Group Description
WhatsApp is experimenting a feature that allows administrators of a group chat on the app to add a description for the group. There will be a new “About Us” section for groups, and the description can be seen by all group members at the top of group info section.
All members of the group chat will have the option to modify the description as per requirement by tapping on the ‘Add Group Description’ option. However, the group administrators can restrict non-admins from modifying it. This feature was made available for WhatsApp Beta Android users a couple of days ago.
Group Calls and Video Chats
One of the limitations of WhatsApp is that is doesn’t support voice and video calls between more than two people at a time. WhatsApp is set to change this soon by introducing a new group calling feature.
The feature first seen in beta version 2.18.39 adds call and video button next to contact names in the groups. Users can add multiple people to initiate a group call. However, there is no information as to the number of people that can be added to a group call.
Switching Between Voice and Video Calls
WhatsApp is also developing a switch button in the calling feature. The option will allow users to switch from voice to video calls without disconnecting the ongoing call. Tapping on the button will send an invite to the person on the other end of the call to switch to video. Upon acceptance, the voice call will get converted into a video call. The feature was first noticed in WhatsApp beta version 2.18. 4 and has already gone live for several users.
WhatsApp Pay Broader Roll Out
WhatsApp recently rolled out WhatsApp Payments (review) feature to its users. However, the feature is said to be available only for one million users in the first phase and after all the testing, the company will release it to its 200 million users in the country.
This is one of the highly-anticipated features WhatsApp is working on. The instant messaging platform will be introducing WhatsApp Stickers very soon to Android, iOS and Windows Phone platforms. This feature might go live to users anytime in the coming weeks.
WhatsApp for iPad
After keeping the iPad users on the edge for more than five years, WhatsApp is finally working on a standalone app for Apple iPad, however, it will be WhatsApp Web client, rather than a full-fledged app.
These features are currently available to the Beta version of WhatsApp for Android. We expect them to roll out to the stable version of the app soon and become available for all users.