WhatsApp wants to be international cross-platform FaceTime. Today Facebook-owned chat service WhatsApp is officially launching video calling for its over 1 billion users worldwide on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Its debut follows a series of reports from people who recently found the feature had been enabled in beta versions of WhatsApp on Android and on Windows Phone – an indication that a public debut was on the near horizon.
To use the new feature, WhatsApp users can hit the call button in the top right corner of a conversation, which will bring up an overlaid interstitial asking if you want to voice or video call the friend or family member you’re chatting with. To kick off the video call, you simply select the “video call” option from this screen.
During the call itself, you can switch between the forward-facing and rear camera, mute the call or press the red button to hang up. It seems the user interface varies slightly on Android and iPhone in terms of where the picture-in-picture video feed is displayed, as well as the buttons’ size, lineup and placement. (See images and video below).
WhatsApp already supports a number of standard features for communications apps, including group texting and voice calling. But the company says that video calling has remained one of its top feature requests from users.