Meta-owned, WhatsApp has announced a new Communities feature, which provides additional features for group chats. Features like file sharing for sizes up to 2GB, emoji reactions, an admin delete function, and group calls of up to 32 people are also inbound. Which sounds like a cacophony, but is great if you don’t want to read all those texts, we guess.
The company shared the following video on its WhatsApp Twitter account.
📣 We’re excited to announce a new feature rolling out later this year called Communities!
With Communities, you’ll be able to bring related groups together in a way that helps you organize meaningful connections easily and privately. pic.twitter.com/eatAZQCmc3
— WhatsApp (@WhatsApp) April 14, 2022
According to the company, more people are relying on WhatsApp groups to get information across. It’s this that has apparently prompted the development and launch of Communities.
“Organisations like schools, local clubs, and non-profit organisations now rely on WhatsApp to communicate securely and get things done. Especially since the pandemic forced us all to find creative ways to work together while apart. Given lots of feedback we’ve received, we think there’s more we can do to make it easier to help people manage these busy conversations among these kinds of groups.”
The point is to organise much larger groups under a single banner, splitting them into sub-groups so you’re not overloading everyone with pointless (for them) information. So everyone is in one place, but not everyone needs to see what’s always going on. It’s a little like Slack, but for people who don’t know how to set up a new user account.
Each WhatsApp Community will describe what it is for, as well as list sub-groups within the Community that members can choose to join. This can be a great way, for example, for parents to stay in touch with what is going on at their child(ren)’s school. Meta also assures users that all messages are end-to-end encrypted, so no matter what dodgy WhatsApp communities you have joined, you can converse in relative peace.
Communities will include tools for admins. Admins will be the only ones able to broadcast messages to all members. They’ll also have the ability to delete “problematic” messages from everyone’s stream. The only hitch is that we’re not exactly sure when the change is rolling out. Mark Zuckerberg said last week that testing was beginning, with a full rollout planned for “…the coming months”.
More than a Community
But other expected features should be along sooner. There’s the ability to send much larger messages — up to 2GB in size — on the cards. Expanded voice calls, so you don’t need to fire up Teams or Zoom if you want to get 32 people in a voice chat, are also coming.
And finally, reactions are coming. Yes, just like the emoji reactions on Facebook. At long last, everyone can just use iconography, “so people can quickly share their opinion without flooding chats with new messages.” Let’s see how useful that turns out to be.