A beta version of WhatsApp for Android included the option to initiate a video call. The feature was not active for most users, and it was removed with a later update, but it’s a sign that the full release of the feature is approaching.
Video calling for WhatsApp has been in the works for at least six months – back in December, screenshots of the iOS version of the app leaked showing a basic video calling interface. More recently, translation requests for the term “Video Call” suggested that WhatsApp was readying the feature for a global rollout.
Over the weekend, multiple users reported that a “Video Call” option was added to the call button in the chat interface of WhatsApp beta version 2.16.80. Normally, the call button takes you straight to the audio call, but with this update, users could choose between audio and video. The Video Call option was inactive. Fone Arena reported that some users were able to initiate video calls, but we didn’t see any proof for that.
The Video Call option wasn’t ready for the public, because it was removed with a later update. But it looks like we’re in the final stages before the rollout.
Like with audio calling last year, the ability to make video calls will be limited to small numbers of users initially. WhatsApp has hundreds of millions of daily users, so a data-intensive feature like video calling has to be rolled out very gradually.
If you want to experience WhatsApp video calling – and other new features – as early as possible, your best shot is to enroll in the WhatsApp beta program in Google Play.
Do you look forward to this feature?