WhatsApp, the most popular instant messaging app in India, has come up with the most awaited feature for its users.
The Facebook-owned chat service is officially launching video calling for its over 1 billion users worldwide on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
While the calls will be free just like Apple’s FaceTime, Microsoft-owned Skype and Google's newly launched Duo, one may have to pay for cellular data usage, depending on the plan, in case there is no availability of Wi-FI connection.
In an interview to Reuters, WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum said that video calls will be rolled out in 180 countries within hours after the feature is introduced at the event in India on Tuesday.
WhatsApp also announced that India is its biggest market with over 160 monthly million active users.
It further added that the new feature has been optimised to work in regions like India, where users often struggle with poor internet connectivity.
Just like messages and voice calls, the video calling service of WhatsApp will also be fully encrypted end-to-end, making it technically impossible for the company or government authorities to read messages or listen to voice calls.
The new feature will work just like WhatsApp voice calls. When the user presses the little phone button on a person’s profile, WhatsApp will bring up an overlaid interstitial asking if the user wants to make a voice or video call.
However, one may not see video calling feature from today. The rollout is staged, meaning it will arrive over the days ahead as it reaches the entire WhatsApp user base.
WhatsApp video-calling will be available to all users running the latest version of the app, and if you are running a previous version, you are advised to update to the latest one.
WhatsApp started as a text messaging service, and as its popularity grew, it has added features like voice calling – introduced in March last year – and now it has added video calling.