Chat platform WhatsApp is giving groups a makeover with a list of new features for group conversations. On May 15,WhatsApp announced several updates to group chats that allow members to catch up on what they’ve missed quickly while giving administrators additional controls.
The first change gives groups a brief description to help clarify the purpose and guidelines for the group chat. The description pops up at the top whenever someone new joins in. WhatsApp suggests groups use the description space to clarify the purpose, guidelines, or topics for that particular group.
Another new tool allows administrators to choose whether or not to restrict changes to the subject, icon,and description. The option allows admins to select which members are allowed to make those changes. Administrators can revoke admin permissions and also prevent the group’s creator from being removed from the group.
For group members catching up after being away from the conversation, a new catch-up option helps recap what you’ve missed. Tapping the @ button in the bottom right of the chat will highlight any mentions and any replies to your messages. WhatsApp says the tool is designed to help users quickly get up to speed inside a group after being away from the chat.
Inside the group info page, members can now search for other group participants. Another change makes adding someone who has already left a group a bit more complicated, to discourage re-adds.
“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,” the announcement blog post reads. “There are also people coming together in groups on WhatsApp like new parents looking for support, students organizing study sessions, and even city leaders coordinating relief efforts after natural disasters.”
Group video calling is also heading to the app, expanding the previous calls feature that only allowed video chats between two people. The latest update comes after the chat app gained compatibility with Instagram and Facebook videos, a feature announced during parent company Facebook’s F8 conference last week.
The group-focused updates are rolling out today, May 15, for both iPhone and Android users.