WhatsApp, which already handles more than 100 million voice calls every day as well as its core messaging traffic, is now set to launch video calling across Android, iOS and Windows devices.
It said it had received many requests for the feature over the years from its users, of which there are more than 1 billion, and described the move as “the next step in our efforts to connect people”.
The Facebook-owned app maker said “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.”
CEO Jan Koum told Reuters that improvements in phone cameras, battery life and bandwidth makes the service viable for a significant proportion of users.
The report added that video calling will be fully encrypted, in keeping with the rest of the app, and will be rolled out to 180 countries “within hours after the feature is introduced at an event in India.”
Koum has already said in the past that WhatsApp uses Facebook’s servers and bandwidth for voice calls, and this now applies to video as well.
The fact that it is a cross-platform service also gives it an advantage over services like Apple’s FaceTime, which only works on iOS.
WhatsApp added that it wants to make “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.”
Last month some Android users found they could make WhatsApp video calls on beta builds of the app. Facebook Messenger got the video calling feature back in April.
WhatsApp also recently rolled out two-factor authentication in some of its beta versions.