Just last week, Facebook announced that they are rolling out their Messenger Rooms feature that lets you video chat with up to 70 people. It’s available on Facebook and Messenger but Mark Zuckerberg did say they will also be rolling it out to their other products, specifically WhatsApp and Instagram. Now it looks like it’s the messaging app that’s getting it first as the latest beta update to WhatsApp now includes an integration, or more specifically, a shortcut to Messenger Rooms.
WABetaInfo shared that version 2.20.163 now has integrations with Messenger Rooms in both the chat sheet and in the Calls tab. If you open the chat sheet, you’ll see a Room icon that has now replaced the Camera icon among the other tappable bubbles. The camera icon is still there in the chat messaging field, don’t worry. The shortcut is also found in the Call tab, along with the usual call shortcut at the bottom of the screen.
When you tap the Room icon, you’ll be brought to a message that tells you what Messenger Rooms is all about, in case you don’t know it yet. You will then need to tap the “Continue in Messenger” link which will launch the Messenger app and allow you to create a Room for your video chat. So it’s not really an integration but more of a shortcut to creating Rooms. So obviously, you need to have Messenger installed on your device to do this.
While you can still do your regular video calls on Messenger, Messenger Rooms is created to be a sort of competitor to Zoom but is focused more on personal calls rather than business or conference reasons. You get up to 50 people on the call and Facebook says they will be adding more features that should make it fun and easy to use as well. You don’t need to have a Facebook account to join the call but you probably need one to start a video chat.
The Messenger Room shortcut on WhatsApp beta is rolling out to users in the U.S. for now but will probably also be available globally soon. As to when it will go out of beta, it is unclear right now but it should be soon too.