The Facebook-owned cross-platform chat service has announced the addition of a video calling feature with its latest update on WhatsApp. This service has been launched as an answer to Apple’s Facetime, Microsoft’s Skype and Google’s Duo.
The video calling feature had been made available to several beta testers initially. WhatsApp seems confident enough about its new feature as it has been rolled out for billion plus users on its platform worldwide on Android, Apple as well as Windows devices.
In no way is video calling a new feature to the users, who’ve already been using several other services over the years. But, much like Google Duo, WhatsApp’s video call is going to work in areas with weak internet connections too.
Google Duo continuously monitors the internet strength and turns up or down the video quality so that the call isn’t interrupted. It can even switch from Wi-fi signal to your mobile network’s internet connection without losing the call.
Jan Koum, CEO & Co-Founder of WhatsApp said, “Video calling is one of the most requested features from people in India. We’re proud to have the opportunity to launch this feature in India, where we now have 160 million users, and we look forward to seeing people use WhatsApp to talk to their friends and loved ones face to face.”
The new feature has been embedded in the same call button on the top of a chat box. Now when you press that button, you’ll be served with two options — voice call or a video call — and depending on your choice a phone or camera icon will be shown in the call logs.
When you start a video call, a minimalistic screen-size display would open up, with buttons at the bottom to end the call, mute and camera toggle to switch between the front and rear camera.
There is a little difference between the layout of an active video call between Apple and Android devices, but all the features are available in both of them.
So what makes Whatsapp’s video calling feature such big news?
The video calling feature faces stiff competition from those who’ve already been there in the marketplace for years. But it’s Whatsapp’s massive 1.1 billion-strong user base and cross-platform availability that enables it to be the big market player.
Apple’s Facetime is restricted to users with iOS; Skype doesn’t have the same popularity as before, and Google Duo is a relatively new application — not as popular yet. That’s where WhatsApp comes out on top.
WhatsApp has been loading the app with updates over the past one year. Voice calling is one of the most used features on WhatsApp since its release a little more than a year ago, with users having made more than 100 million calls in that period. Another perk of WhatsApp’s voice call feature is that it uses relatively low data, as does the video call.
It’s always an easier thing to have everything at a single place, and with WhatsApp now you can text chat with your contacts in personal chat rooms or groups, and enjoy a voice or video call too.
Security features like the end-to-end encryption, and the upcoming two-factor authentication is going to be an added advantage to make your WhatsApp account even more secure.