30 May 2020
WhatsApp has released a new Android beta version that comes with Messenger Rooms integration. The latter is Facebook's own take on video conferencing which has seen exponential growth during these tough times. It is capable of supporting up to 50 people in a single group video call and is essentially a Zoom competitor.
The newly added integration is said to be available on WhatsApp beta version 2.20.163. The build is reportedly available to select users in the United States. It means not all beta users have access to the Messenger Rooms functionality. It seems like the team wants to test the new capability in a phased manner starting with a small group of users.
Facebook announced Messenger Rooms during the last week of April but expanded it globally just a few days ago. Even during the introduction of the service, it has made its plans of making the service available on all Facebook apps/services and products very clear. The idea is to reach as many users as possible while also providing them the freedom to choose their preferred app or product.
The Messenger Rooms integration is available as a shortcut within the WhatsApp 'share' sheet. It is the same sheet that provides options to share documents, images, videos, locations, and contacts. The newly added option called "Rooms" which replaces the Camera icon used previously.
Tapping on the "Room" icon will show a short introduction to the service for those who are unfamiliar with it. The introduction will be followed by a "Continue in Messenger" option. This is what will take users to the Messenger application for creating their own room and invite people to join.