WhatsApp has evolved from a text only instant messaging app to including group chats, file transfers, location sharing, VoIP calls (voice only), web clients, a desktop app and now it has opened up video calling. Now it is a possibility to make video calls over WhatsApp as it now joins the likes of Messenger, Duo, Skype among others.
While this is a positive welcome, if further complicates the once easy to get along chatting behemoth given the slew of features it now incorporates as listed above and more.
Once a chat is open, one has to tap the call button and choose either a voice or video call. Only tap the video call to place one and you’re good to go.
The feature is rolling out slowly so while your mates might be having it, you might have to wait a little lesser before it finally becomes available on your device. Listed platforms include Android, iOS and Windows Phone
“We’re introducing this feature because we know that sometimes voice and text just aren’t enough. There’s no substitute for watching your grandchild take her first steps, or seeing your daughter’s face while she’s studying abroad. And 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.” Reads the Whatsapp blog
That particular last sentence might suggest that the video calling feature might be optimized for slow networks since WhatsApp counts a large percentage of its users in the developing world, who are always curtailed by slow wireless or wired networks to embrace features such as video calling.
WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook has previously addressed this by launching lite versions of its main Facebook and Messenger apps that are well optimized for slow networks. We’re yet to tell how WhatsApp will address this.