With the pandemic lockdowns still dragging on in many regions, people continue to seek out more ways to stay connected to family and friends, while physically apart. And with group audio social tools on the rise, WhatsApp has today added a new feature which ties into this trend, while also remaining true to the privacy-first ethos of the app.
NO MORE FOMO. You won't miss a group call because you didn't get to the phone fast enough anymore! With Joinable calls on WhatsApp you can join an ongoing call at any time! pic.twitter.com/UXcF18THu4— WhatsApp (@WhatsApp) July 19, 2021
As you can see here, WhatsApp has today announced a new update which will enable users to join a group call in the app, even after the call has begun.
As explained by WhatsApp:
"Joinable calls reduce the burden of answering a group call as it starts, and bring the spontaneity and ease of in-person conversations to group calling on WhatsApp. Some of the best conversations happen when you least expect it. Now, if someone in your group misses a call when the phone rings, they can still join whenever they like. You can also drop-off and re-join so long as the call is still ongoing."
As noted, given WhatsApp's privacy focus, it can't open up public group chats in a similar vein to Clubhouse. But it does have similar options available, just limited to friends and connections. As such, the ability to view in-progress group chats, and join or leave as you choose, is the closest that it's able to provide in order to facilitate that same experience among your friends and trusted connections.
Which, given the popularity of drop-in conversation tools, could prove to be a good addition, and help to facilitate more engagement in the app.
As you can see in the screenshots above, the new group call info screen will display who's already on a call, and who's been invited but not yet joined. It's a handy way to facilitate group connection, which, again, will no doubt come in handy for those looking to maintain social connections while remaining physically distant.
There could also be business use cases for the same, with the capacity to hold private, members-only product preview sessions or similar within WhatsApp. Depending on how your community uses WhatsApp, it could be another way to reach your key segments, and facilitate new brand info sessions among selected groups
Though, of course, it's primarily designed for person-to-person chats, and it could be another valuable connection tool to help facilitate social activity in the time of isolation.
Which we all probably need right now, with 18 months of separation likely wearing on even the most introverted among us.
You can read more about the new WhatsApp group calling options here.