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Encrypted messaging app Signal enters video conferencing game

Signal
(Image credit: Signal)

Encrypted messaging app Signal has announced the launch of a new video calling feature for group chats, marking a foray into what has become an increasingly crowded market since the start of the pandemic.

According to a company blog post, Signal video calls are free, private and totally end-to-end encrypted - a security feature video conferencing giant Zoom only very recently managed to implement.

The new feature, which is currently limited to just five participants, is available immediately with the latest version of the application, across all platforms. Users can launch a group video call via a new icon situated at the top of the screen.

TechRadar Pro has asked for clarification over whether users will be able to attend video calls via the Signal client for Windows and whether any call duration restrictions are in place.

Signal video calls

The video conferencing market has exploded over the course of the last nine months, with the rise of remote working and lockdown policies isolating people from family and friends.

The major beneficiaries of the pandemic have been platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, both of which have experienced dramatic growth and now host billions of meeting minutes every day.

If the company’s blog post is anything to go by, however, Signal is hoping to play in a slightly different arena to these enterprise giants, with a greater focus on consumer use cases.

“2020 has seen its fair number of challenges and changes. We’ve all adapted to new ways of staying in touch, getting work done, celebrating birthdays and weddings, and even exercising,” wrote the firm.

“As more and more of our critical and personal moments move online, we want to continue to provide you with new ways to share and connect privately.”

As ever, Signal was particularly keen to emphasize its credentials where data privacy and security are concerned. According to the firm, the only information it holds on its users is the date of account creation and date of most recent use.

Implicitly, the firm has pitched its new video calling offering as a trustworthy alternative to services run by some of the world’s largest corporations, many of which (as with Zoom and Teams) have found themselves on the pointy end of headlines since the pandemic began.