WhatsApp's latest feature lets you jump in and out of group voice chats

The feature brings another way to communicate on the expanding platform.

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Last year, WhatsApp released a series of new updates to make sending voice messages an overall better experience, and now it's bringing the whole group in on it. The messaging app has released a beta version of voice chats — a feature that creates an ongoing group audio conversation, reports WABetaInfo. The first sign of voice chats came earlier this year under the name audio chats but didn't provide much other info than its mere existence.

Two WhatsApp chats show how to open a voice chat.

Though it sounds similar, this update isn't exactly the same as starting a group call, giving a much more Discord-like feel than when you typically give your friends a ring. Anyone with the update should see a waveform symbol in the upper right corner of their group chat. Pressing the icon starts a group voice chat and will say voice chat opened with a microphone to its left and a red X to its right. Everyone else in the group will receive a push notification, the same as any message, instead of their phone ringing. They will see a banner at the top of the chat box letting them know how many people are chatting now and giving them the option to connect.

Voice chats are protected by end-to-end encryption just like any other messages sent and also shut off if no one has been active in it for an hour. WhatsApp voice chat only appears to be available in beta for Android users right now but will allegedly appear for more people in the coming days.