WhatsApp Rolls Out Video Calling to All

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All 1 billion-plus WhatsApp users around the world can now make video calls.

The Facebook-owned messaging service on Monday began rolling out the new feature to folks on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone devices.

"We know that sometimes voice and text just aren't enough," a company blog post said.

Last month, reports tipped a beta program testing the ability to make video calls from within the app; screenshots showed that tapping the call button or contact card brings up a dialog with voice and video as options.

"There's no substitute for watching your grandchild take her first steps, or seeing your daughter's face while she's studying abroad," WhatsApp said this week. "And 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."

Based on WhatsApp's track record for major feature rollouts, it's surprising this function appeared so quickly after initial trials. Reports that the company was adding voice calling surfaced in 2014, but it wasn't until early this year that all Android users gained access to it; the iOS rollout was completed a month later.

Parent company Facebook has invested heavily in its flagship Messenger client, which introduced video calling in 2015.

Video-chat challenger Skype, meanwhile, has just expanded its program to allow anyone with an Internet connection to chat with friends and make voice or video calls without an account.

Old-fashioned texting, however, has not been forgotten: WhatsApp recently announced support for animated GIFs, shareable in one-on-one and group chats. Word has it the platform is also testing its own version of Snapchat Stories.

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