WhatsApp to bring voice and video calls to desktop next year

PHOTO FILE: Whatsapp has a 3D printed logo placed on the keyboard in this photo taken April 12, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc ‘s WhatsApp will introduce a voice and video calling feature to the desktop version of the messaging app next year, a company spokesperson told Reuters.

The move to make calls over big screens would put WhatsApp on par with Zoom and Google Meet video conferencing bigwigs, but it’s unclear whether it intends to compete with the two in the campaign space .

With more than 2 billion users worldwide, WhatsApp is second only to its parent company’s Facebook Inc. signature app, but is mostly used for personal, non- like Zoom or Google Meet.

WhatsApp said it has already rolled out the feature to some desktop users on a trial basis in time for the holiday season, a move first reported by tech blog WABetaInfo.

A second wave of coronavirus has forced many people around the world to stay at home and plan gatherings with friends and family over the internet.

Zoom Video Communications Inc said Friday that it was removing the 40-minute time limit for its free accounts at all meetings around the world for the holiday season.

In a similar move, Google Meet has said that free users would not have to limit conversations to 60 minutes until March.

Reporting by Chavi Mehta and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Edited by Krishna Chandra Eluri