WhatsApp has rolled out end-to-end encryption video calling service on its platform.
The new service which was launched on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 will see the Facebook-owned company compete with the likes of Microsoft’s Skype, Apple’s FaceTime and the recently launched Google Duo.
According to the company, the video calling will be available on all platforms: iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
The function will allow both front- and back-camera video, allowing users to ‘chat’ face to face or share their surroundings, however, the app does not yet support group calls.
“We’re introducing this feature because we know that sometimes voice and text just aren’t enough,” WhatsApp said in a blog post.
“There’s no substitute for watching your grandchild take her first steps, or seeing your daughter’s face while she’s studying abroad.
“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.”
The update is expected to roll out to 180 countries ‘within hours.’ Once you have it, you can place a video call by opening a chat, tapping the phone icon and then selecting the video call option.
You’ll be able to choose where on your screen to position the thumbnail video of your own camera, and switch between rear- and front-facing cameras.
WhatsApp says it has “received many requests” for video calling and has built its video messaging to be able to work across multiple different devices – Apple’s FaceTime, for example, can only be used across its own devices.
WhatsApp, which boasts more than a billion users worldwide, adopted end-to-end encryption early this year, making it technically impossible for the company or government authorities to read messages or listen to calls. The move, which in part has been followed by Google’s messaging app and Facebook Messenger, saw WhatsApp being called the most secure messaging app by Amnesty International.