WhatsApp rolls out video calling TODAY to its billion-plus users

The Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp officially launches the video calling for its over one billion users worldwide on iOS, Android  and Windows Phone. The launch follows a bout of rumors and reports on  the feature being enabled in beta versions of WhatsApp on Android and on  Windows Phone.

‘WhatsApp users can start using the new feature starting tonight,’  says Neeraj Arora of WhatsApp. To use the feature, you need to tap the  call button in the top right corner of a conversation which will give  you an option to select voice or video call the friend or your family member. You can select the 'video call' option from this screen to make the video call.

During the call, the user can switch between the two cameras  --forward-facing and rear camera, silent the call or press the red  button to hang up the call. 

The messaging company has several standard features, available in chat  apps, such as group texting and voice calling, already. WhatsApp  however, says that video calling has remained one of its top feature  requests from users.

‘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, says the company announcing the development here  in New Delhi. 

‘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,’ adds WhatsApp.

With the launch of video calling, WhatsApp will take on a number of rivals, including Facebook’s own Messenger app, as well as Skype, Apple’s FaceTime, Viber, and Google’s recently launched Duo, among others.

What remains to be seen is how the one billion users use the new  feature at a time when services like Skype and FaceTime are used by  millions of users already.

The company has launched two-factor authentication in some of its beta versions recently.

Jan Koum, CEO & Co-Founder, WhatsApp, says, 'Video calling is one  of the most requested features from people in India. We're proud to have  the opportunity to launch this feature in India, where we now have 160  million users, and we look forward to seeing people use WhatsApp to talk  to their friends and loved ones face to face.'

 (Main Image: Flickr)