WhatsApp has been bringing in new features to march at pace with its competitors. Recently, the popular messaging app added features like documents support, mentions and we also saw the upcoming timeline feature that resembles Instagram’s stories. We had reported earlier this year that WhatsApp calling had appeared on Beta app but failed to work as intended. Now the Video calling feature has been enabled on the latest build and starting today, it will go live for all 1 Billion+ users on Android, iOS and Windows.
The feature will be rolled out in phases. In case you are already running the latest Android beta, you can check out the feature by tapping on the ‘Phone’ icon on the top right and selecting ‘Voice Call’ from the option. It’s as simple as this but make sure the person you are calling has the feature enabled as well.
WhatsApp has over 160 Million monthly active users in India which the company claims is highest for any country. Maybe this is the reason the Video calling feature is being rolled out in India first and is also conditioned for the Indian networks. The video automatically scales down to low resolutions in case of weak networks and when using a Wi-Fi or 4G it will be HD quality.
WhatsApp business head Neeraj Arora told ET that, “India is the biggest country we have more users than any other country in the world.” he further added that “Video calling…is a big step forward. It is in line with our mission- we want to make sure we give every possible way for people to stay in touch with their families and friends. Video calling is the most immersive (experience) and something that makes you feel really close to somebody else.”
The company says that they access the Dynamic quality on the basis of connection and thus evaluate if mobile data is being used or Wi-Fi. Furthermore, similar to the audio calls, Video calls will also be end-to-end encrypted right from the beginning. That said the rollout is still expected to be gradual and if you want to try out the feature right now follow the steps outlined below,
Signing up for Beta
- Go to Google Play and search for WhatsApp
- Open the app listing and scroll down to the end of the page
- Click on “Become a beta tester” and confirm the same on the subsequent prompts
- Revisit the WhatsApp listing page on Google Play after some time
- Ideally, you should be able to see the Update button, update the app
Also, you can simply sideload the apk from here and you are good to go.
Making Video Calls on WhatsApp
- First things first, ensure that the other party you are trying to call has updated to the latest beta or has the feature enabled in the default build.
- From the Contacts Tab, select the person you want to video call.
- Tap on the phone icon at the top right of the screen.
- Select Video Call from the prompt.
Earlier this year, WhatsApp introduced the voice calling feature and this has kind of become the defacto way for me to call. In the recent past, the call quality has improved by miles and the audio calls are finally something that we could live with. With the Video feature WhatsApp, will be at par with its competition and we also expect (especially in mobile first countries like India) a sharp rise in users who will use video calling feature for the first time through WhatsApp.