Meta is developing a new WhatsApp feature for group chats called Audio Chat. It was found in a recent WhatsApp beta update. But although it may be rolling out to the public at some point, the Audio Chat feature appears to be in its early stages.
The screenshots below show an early implementation of Audio Chats (via WaBetaInfo). It’s accessible through a new waveform icon at the top of the group chat, but the feature doesn’t yet function, so its capabilities are unknown.
It’s unclear how Audio Chat works compared to the existing audio recording feature, but once initiated, an Audio Chat has a “hang up” button at the top. This early UI and the fact that the audio recording feature remains intact suggests that Audio Chat may function similarly to Slack Huddles, Twitter Spaces, and Discord voice chats, wherein group members can drop in and out of voice conversations whenever they want.
Lately, Meta appears to have shifted focus on improving the group chat capabilities of WhatsApp, which remains a very popular platform across Europe and in other markets, where even Samsung uses the app for its customer support channels. In a recent live update for WhatsApp for Windows, the company added support for group video calls for up to eight people and audio calls for up to 32 participants.
As to when the Audio Chat feature for the mobile app could go live on Samsung phones and other Android devices, it remains to be determined. Beta updates rarely have a stable roadmap, so only time will tell when the feature will go live and how it could change by the time Meta makes it public. At the moment, not much is known about the functionality or whether the Audio Chat UI will stay the same as we see it in the early beta screenshot above.