WhatsApp is officially launching video calling for its 1 billion users plus worldwide on iOS, Android and Windows Phone today.
The company stated:
“Our goal at WhatsApp has always been to help as many people as possible stay in touch with friends, family, and others they care about. That means making a product that’s simple, easy to use, and accessible no matter where you are. We started with messaging and Group Chat. Then we added voice calling. And we did it in a way that works across thousands of device and platform combinations all over the world.”
WhatsApp already supports a number of standard features for communications apps, including group texting and voice calling. But the company says that video calling has remained one of its top feature requests from users.
“Today we’re excited to announce the next step in our efforts to connect people – WhatsApp video calling. In the coming days, WhatsApp’s more than one billion users can make video calls across Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone devices.”
Here’s how to make a video call within WhatsApp:
- Open WhatsApp
- Go to the Contacts tab
- Find and tap the contact you want to initiate a WhatsApp video call with
- Tap on the phone icon towards the top of the screen
- From the popup choose Video call
You’ve just made your first WhatsApp video call!
During the call itself, you can switch between the forward-facing and rear camera, mute the call or press the red button to hang up. It seems the user interface varies slightly on Android and iPhone in terms of where the picture-in-picture video feed is displayed, as well as the buttons’ size, lineup and placement.
Though a late entrant, WhatsApp has a massive user base and the addition of the feature could help them from fleeing to other messaging and calling platforms. In addition, WhatsApp touts its cross-platform support as one of the reasons to use video calling in its app, instead of elsewhere.
“…we want to make these features available to everyone, not just those who can afford the most expensive new phones or live in countries with the best cellular networks,”
That’s a direct dig at things like FaceTime, which only works on Apple devices, as well as newer apps, like Google Duo, which only runs on later versions of iOS and Android (Jelly Bean and up, or iOS 9 and up).
Video calling should become available globally as the feature rolls out across platforms worldwide over the next few days.