WhatsApp adds a shortcut to Facebook Messenger Rooms for video calls
Facebook has started rolling out yet another messaging service: Facebook Messenger Rooms. The premise of Messenger Rooms is simple: Many of us are under stay-at-home orders so meetings, be it work or social, need to go virtual. Most people jumped onto platforms like Zoom, so Facebook wants a piece of this pie which is why Messenger Rooms is all about group video calls. One of Room’s major advantages is that it’s readily available to Facebook’s massive userbase, but Facebook is also looking to draw in users by integrating the app into its other services like WhatsApp.
WhatsApp has already received enhanced video calling capabilities due to COVID-19 lockdowns forcing people into their homes. A recent update allows you to start a group call with up to 8 people simultaneously. If you want to talk to more people than that, then soon WhatsApp will push you to use Messenger Rooms. You can chat with up to 50 people in Messenger Rooms, which is a much higher limit than WhatsApp’s group voice and video calls.
If you’re one of the people who has received the new feature, then a new “Create Room” shortcut will appear in several parts of the UI such as the calls panel as well as inside chats themselves, prompting people to create a Room to chat. Rooms aren’t fully integrated into WhatsApp, though. Creating a Room will prompt users to access the feature inside the Messenger app.
Image credits: WABetaInfo
Interestingly, this is the first time a Facebook or Messenger feature is actually tied into WhatsApp, which might hint at more integrations coming soon. Facebook actually wants the messaging infrastructures behind WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram to be unified, but that plan is still a long way off.
The ability to create a Room in Messenger is not yet available for everyone on WhatsApp. WABetaInfo notes that the feature is only available for some users in certain countries (like the United States), but you may have luck installing version 2.20.163 beta of the app.