The most popular instant messaging platform WhatsApp has finally started rolling out the much awaited video calling feature for everyone. With 160 million monthly active users, India is now the biggest market for WhatsApp. The video calling feature will roll out to all iOS, Android and Windows users gradually. Last month, the feature was seen on beta version of WhatsApp.
To use the new video calling feature, WhatsApp users can hit the call button in the top right corner of a conversation, which will bring up two options asking users if they want to do voice call or video call with their friends or family members. One can simply select the video call option from this screen to get started.
During the call itself, you can switch between the front and rear camera, mute the call or press the red button to hang up. Just like the voice calls, WhatsApp video calls will also be end-to-end encrypted, which means third parties like law enforcement agencies cannot listen to your conversations. WhatsApp video calling service is also optimised to work in regions like India, where users often struggle with poor Internet connectivity.
We think this is really the right time to launch video calls. The state of smartphones have come a long way in the past few years. The speeds have improved, they are a lot more powerful, they have mature cameras and battery life has improved. At the same time the state of mobile networks has also improved and we see a lot of 4G deployment as well as Wi-Fi. Just like everything else in WhatsApp we want to ensure that video calls will also be fast and reliable. The quality of the video adjusts to the kind of connection you have. We will try to continue the call as much as possible without interrupting.
– Manpreet Singh, Product Lead, WhatsApp, India.
With video calling, WhatsApp is belatedly catching up with a number of rivals, including Facebook’s own Messenger app, Skype, Apple’s FaceTime, hike and Google’s recently launched Duo, to name a few. Though a late entrant, WhatsApp still has a massive user base and the addition of the video calling feature would restrain its users from fleeing to other messaging and calling platforms.
WhatsApp is known for its simple interface and with more features getting added, it is all set to become a one stop solution for everything.