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Watch out FaceTime: WhatsApp video calling is now ready for all

Afters months in the beta stage, WhatsApp's video calling feature is now rolling out around the world to the app's one billion users, as the messaging client takes on the likes of Skype, FaceTime and Google Duo.

Video calling should be available in a WhatsApp update for you now or in the next few days – we still can’t download it here in the UK, but many are reporting the update in the US.

The new WhatsApp feature is a cross-platform video calling service, so you’ll be able to see and speak to friends who use iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

It has a simple interface, similar to normal voice calling within WhatsApp. There's a picture-in-picture feed, so you can see yourself as well as who you’re talking to, and it's simple to switch between your front and rear camera

Video killed the voice chat

WhatsApp is playing catch-up with its video calling feature, as rivals have provided the service for quite some time now.

The announcement from WhatsApp reads: “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 sounds like a bit of a dig at Apple’s Facetime, which you’ll only find on Apple products, and means you're restricted in the amount of people you’re able to talk to.

Skype, Line, Viber and others have provided cross-platform video calling in the past, but having the feature ready to use in an app downloaded by over a billion users may mean you'll soon get a lot more video call requests.

James Peckham

James is Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He has also worked on other leading tech brands, such as T3 and Gizmodo UK, as well as appearing as an expert on TV and radio for the BBC and other publications. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all the latest smartphone news.