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Users of the WhatsApp chat app will soon be able to participate in a video call with up to seven other people, compared to a total of four to date. This should make WhatsApp a more attractive alternative for maintaining social contacts during the corona crisis.

Since the outbreak of the corona virus and the subsequent massive home working crowd, various apps have seen their user base grow significantly. Zoom went from a sloppy ten million in December 2019 to over 200 million in March. Zoom’s function has been extended to calling friends and family, instead of just video conferencing. A dedicated app like WhatsApp is less suitable for that: WhatsApp has a limit of a maximum of four participants per video call.

In the latest beta version of the application, that number has been expanded to eight, bringing it considerably closer to the limit of competitor Google Duo (twelve participants per call). Still, it is considerably less than Microsoft Teams (twenty) or Zoom (one hundred). Something that can possibly be explained by the fact that the function only works on smartphones, which means that a maximum of eight participants is still somewhat functional given the size of a phone screen.

In the background, WhatsApp has been working on full support for more than just smartphones for quite some time now, so that an extension to more participants may also be a more interesting option in the long run.