The use of the word “finally” in headlines has become somewhat of an inside joke in tech blogging and journalism, particularly when it’s invoked in a situation where the emergence of something long-awaited isn’t really warranted. But in the case of WhatsApp Messenger’s gaining support for video calling, the “finally” is more than called for.
That’s right. At long last, the immensely popular Facebook-owned messaging app now has a video calling feature.
How to make a video call on WhatsApp
Making a video call on WhatsApp is pretty easy — as it should be. In a conversation with someone you’d like to video-call, just tap the call button at the top right corner of the screen. You’ll then be prompted to choose between “Voice call” and “Video call.” Tap the “Video call” option, and that’s it. Just wait for the other party to accept your invitation to a video call session.
As you might expect, during a video call in WhatsApp, you can see a full-screen video feed of the other party with an overlaid inset of your own video feed, which is what the other party sees in full screen on his or her end. There are also options for switching between the front- and rear-facing cameras, muting the call, or, of course, hanging up.
Don’t have WhatsApp video calling yet?
According to the announcement of the feature from the WhatsApp team, video calling is rolling out across WhatsApp’s iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone apps in the coming days. So if you don’t see it yet even though you’ve updated to the latest version of the app on your device, you’ll have to wait a while to start video-calling your family and friends on WhatsApp.
Better late than never
The addition of video calling to WhatsApp’s feature set — which has long included standard communication features such as one-on-one conversation, group chat, and voice calling — had been long overdue. But perhaps it took so long to arrive because of WhatsApp’s desire to make it available to all of the more than 1 billion people who use the service and make it as inclusive as possible in terms of platform and device support.
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. 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.- WhatsApp
Indeed, multi-platform support and legacy device compatibility are a couple of the biggest selling points of WhatsApp. As noted by TechCrunch, these effectively give it an edge over many of its competitors, including FaceTime, which by design is limited to Apple’s iOS and Mac, and Google Duo, which is available only on newer versions of iOS and Android.
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Read about WhatsApp’s other recent updates