New group chat features arrive on WhatsApp starting today


Announcing the new features in an emailed statement, WhatsApp said, "Groups have been an important part of the WhatsApp experience, whether it's family members connecting across the globe or childhood friends staying in touch over the years".

Groups have a description, a short blurb under the group info in which the admin can set the goal, guidelines, and topics for that group. These features are available for both Android and iPhone users.

In addition to this change for WhatsApp group chat, the service is also launching a new feature called Catch Up - allowing users to see a quick recap of messages that have mentioned or replied to you since you've been away. When a new person joins a group, the description will show up at the top of the chat.

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Group description: Now, WhatsApp will give description more prominence so that any new member to the WhatsApp Group understands the objective of the group. All the new features will be applicable to new and existing groups. There are also people coming together in groups on WhatsApp like new parents looking for support, students organising study sessions, and even city leaders coordinating relief efforts after natural disasters.

Other new WhatsApp group admin controls include the ability to control who can change a group's subject and icon - giving them a choice between all participants or only admins.

Admin controls: WhatsApp has been rumoured to be working on admin controls for improving Groups experience for a long time.

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While these changes to WhatsApp group chat have generally been well-received, there have been some actions from the company in the past few months that have drawn the ire of a significant population in India.

Just like any feature, there is room to grow and that is what WhatsApp is doing to groups.

Group video calling is also heading to the app, expanding the previous calls feature that only allowed video chats between two people. With Participant search, users can find anyone in a group by searching for them on the info page.

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Protection: What has also introduced protection so users can not be repeatedly added to groups they have left.