WhatsApp is releasing the “voice chats” tool to participants in its Beta program. According to WABetaInfo, a website that specializes in unveiling the app’s future features, the “voice channels” are only available in the beta version for Androids. With the start of testing in this release, the official release of the feature may be near.
This feature can confuse users. After all, WhatsApp already has the group calling tool and that is basically an audio channel/chat. But this new tool, whose English name is “voice chat,” more closely resembles Discord’s voice Portuguese channels — not a call.
WhatsApp voice chat doesn’t call group participants
Unlike group calling, WhatsApp’s voice chat, already released in March, doesn’t “ring the phone” of participants — nor is it shut down as soon as everyone leaves. A member can open the audio channel and those who are interested in participating will enter and leave the voice conversation. The chat ends 1 hour after the last participant has left.
As the screenshots released by WA BetaInfo show, voice chats open a new menu (or interface) within the group, allowing other participants to enter the audio channel that is open. The button to create the voice chat is in the top bar of the interface, between the group name and the settings icon. Its design resembles the “audio waves” that appear in voice messages.
Even if it doesn’t send the call notification to attendees, WABetaInfo explains that users get a “traditional” notification that a voice chat has been created in the group. In the conversation list, the group that has an active chat will have an icon showing that the feature is currently active.
It’s possible that Meta will even send the update to users who are outside of the WhatsApp Beta Program.