WhatsApp will launch video calling service on its app, a move that will help the popular messaging platform compete with the likes of Skype, Apple’s FaceTime and the recently launched Google Duo.
The new feature will be rolled out to WhatsApp’s over one billion users over the next few days.
“This has been in the works for some time and we are glad that we are launching the service from India, which has our largest userbase. Like voice calls, video calls are also going to be dynamic i.e. depending on the quality of network, the video will adjust accordingly,” WhatsApp Head of Business Neeraj Arora said.
He added that like text and voice calling features, video calls will also be encrypted end-to-end to ensure safety and privacy of its users.
“With the new update, users simply can choose between a voice or a video call and go ahead with the call,” he said.
Arora did not give any estimates about the volume of video calls WhatsApp expects to facilitate in the coming days.
In June, WhatsApp had announced that its platform saw over 100 million voice calls are made every day.
“In line with the user base, India is one of the most active voice calling countries for us,” he added.
Facebook-owned WhatsApp has almost become the default messaging application for people in countries like India and Brazil.
It competes with the likes of Hike, Viber and Line in India, which has 160 million WhatsApp users.
With the video calling feature, it will now compete head-on with video calling popular apps like Microsoft’s Skype and Apple’s FaceTime.
Earlier this year, tech giant Google had launched Allo (messaging app) and Duo (video calling app) to tap into the booming communications app market.
Asked how the company will differentiate WhatsApp’s offerings from Facebook’s Messenger app, Arora said the use cases of both apps are different.
“While Facebook connects you to people in your friend list, WhatsApp lets you talk to the contact list on your phone. There are a lot of new things that Messenger is working on like bots. We have our own offerings,” he said.