Facebook’s mobile messaging app WhatsApp has finally introduced the video calling feature for its over one billion users across iOS, Android and Windows phones. This new feature is an attempt to take a share out of FaceTime’s pie of mobile video calling.
The company said in a blog post, “Our goal at WhatsApp has always been to help as many people as possible stay in touch with friends, family, and others they care about. That means making a product that’s simple, easy to use, and accessible no matter where you are. We started with messaging and Group Chat. Then we added voice calling. And we did it in a way that works across thousands of device and platform combinations all over the world. Today we’re excited to announce the next step in our efforts to connect people – WhatsApp video calling.”
WhatsApp is a little late to the video calling party, as there are so many long-established players in this field such as FaceTime, Skype, Viber and Google’s recently launched Duo.
The feature works similar to its voice calls and has a mute and front-camera and back-camera option for the video chat.
“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,” continued the blog post.
The company launched voice calls last year, and even though it was launching in an already-crowded marketspace, its own data from June 2016 showed that more than 100 million voice calls were made daily on WhatsApp. The company’s large user base is what might work for the app this time as well and also its availability across platforms unlike FaceTime.