WhatsApp has announced video calling feature to its app, which will go live on Android, iOS and Windows devices over the next couple of days. WhatsApp video calls were part of the Android public beta app for those who had signed up, but it is now coming out of beta and ready for all users. WhatsApp has promised the feature will start rolling out by tonight, and all video-calls made on the app will be end-to-end encrypted just like messages and voice-calls.
This move that will help the popular messaging platform compete with the likes of Skype, Apple’s FaceTime and the recently launched Google Duo.
The new feature will be rolled out to WhatsApp’s over one billion users over the next few days.
The Facebook-owned messaging service also announced that India has now 160 million monthly active users (MAUs)—more than anywhere else in the world—making it the perfect place to announce the new video calling feature.
"This has been in the works for some time and we are glad that we are launching the service from India, which has our largest userbase. Like voice calls, video calls are also going to be dynamic i.e. depending on the quality of network, the video will adjust accordingly,” WhatsApp Head of Business Neeraj Arora said.
He added that like text and voice calling features, video calls will also be encrypted end-to-end to ensure safety and privacy of its users.
"With the new update, users simply can choose between a voice or a video call and go ahead with the call,” he said.
So what is WhatsApp promising with the video calls? For starters, it says the quality will be optimised for networks in India. So WhatsApp will automatically figure out if your network connection is poor or a really good one, and adjust video quality according to this. It will also let users switch from front to back camera in the middle of a video call. Users can also send a text message to the person without disconnecting the video call itself. The video call feature will work across platforms for users.
The video call option will show in the Calls tab. You’ll see a video symbol, next to the regular phone call symbol. Just tap on that to make a video call; do note your friend will need to be on the upgraded version of the app with the video calling feature for them to receive the call. Also, you can’t make video calls on groups.
WhatsApp launched its messenger service in 2009 and voice calling in 2015. WhatsApp is available in 10 Indian languages.