Mysterious ‘Open Audio Chat’ option seen in WhatsApp beta
WhatsApp is an extremely popular messaging app, and that doesn’t only apply to text-based communication. People use the Meta-owned app for voice communication as well. According to WABInfo (via Android Police), it looks like WhatsApp is working on a new Open Audio Chat feature, and we don’t know what it is.
For starters, you’ll want to take this news with a grain of salt. WABInfo was able to dig into the beta version of the app (version 126.96.36.199) and activate the UI for this mysterious feature. Thus, the company could take the feature away or change it at any time. We’re not sure when/if WhatsApp plans on pushing this feature to the final build of the app.
WhatsApp is working on an Open Audio Chat feature
Right now, we don’t know what this feature could be used for, but the name could give us a hint. First off, in the screenshot below, we see a minor change in the UI. Typically, at the top of the group chat UI, you’ll see a phone icon next to the camera icon. This would start a group audio call. However, with the new UI, the phone icon was changed to a waveform icon.
Also, when you tap on that option, instead of jumping right to the call, you’ll see a dropdown menu with the Group call option and a new button. It says Open audio chat. At this point, we don’t know what this could be, but there’s speculation that it could allow anyone to join the conversation whether they’re in the group or not.
If this is the case, then it could resemble something like what we see with Twitter Space and Clubhouse. Maybe the people who are in the group could be the hosts of the conversation, and visitors could just listen. We wouldn’t be surprised if the company did something like this.
Several companies jumped on the Clubhouse train when it was the new thing. Facebook, Twitter, Discord, and Amazon are some examples (while Amazon didn’t launch a product yet). Only time will tell if this is what the company is planning on doing.