MOBILE MESSAGING
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Whatsapp

WhatsApp rolls out video calling to more than one billion users

Feature meant to expand instant messaging company’s reach regardless of phone type or cellular networks

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2016, 6:02pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2016, 6:02pm

WhatsApp, the world’s most popular instant messaging application, is finally rolling out video calling to its more than one billion users.

From Tuesday, users of Android, iPhone and Windows devices are to be prompted in phases to update their app before the new feature can be used.

Watch: WhatsApp launches video calling

“Over the years we’ve received many requests from our users for video calling, and we’re excited to finally offer this feature to the world,” the company said in a statement.

To start video calling, users can tap the call button at the top right corner of a conversation box and select “video call” or “voice call”.

We want to make these features available to everyone, not just those who can afford the most expensive new phones
WhatsApp statement

The move follows WhatsApp’s introduction of voice calling in January last year, allowing the text messaging app to attract different types of users.

A blog post on the Facebook-owned company’s website in June claimed more than 100 million voice calls were made on WhatsApp every day.

Video calling is not a groundbreaking feature for smartphones. Facebook’s own Messenger app introduced video calling in April last year, while other messaging apps such as Apple’s FaceTime, Skype, Viber and Line all integrate video calling.

But the reach of WhatsApp across multiple platforms and its sheer number of users – it grew five-fold from 200 million in 2013 to one billion in February – meant the roll-out was still a significant upgrade.

“We’re introducing this feature because we know that sometimes voice and text just aren’t enough,” the company statement said. “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.”