WhatsApp isn’t the first to enter the voice-over-internet space. We had Viber and Skype for years, then Facebook’s Messenger came out with calling features. WhatsApp was always the simple group messaging app and no one really expected much from it, until...
Facebook bought WhatsApp for $22 billion back in October 2014. This was a big deal - not only monetary wise but also the possible developments that could change the WhatsApp game forever. And luckily, Facebook didn’t merge WhatsApp with any of its previous services (like Messenger).
Facebook however has made sure to make WhatsApp a more comprehensive platform. First came WhatsApp web: you can (if you have an Android phone) WhatsApp straight off your computer on the web browser via access to your phone. This was long awaited, but somehow it doesn't seem to be as successful and I don’t see people even knowing about it, let alone using it.
And then, just a week ago, came WhatsApp calling. Yes, you can now call other WhatsApp users over the internet, and although there is nothing distinctly different to it, it does its job pretty well.
WhatsApp calling for me has been a good experience: even at low internet speeds calls work considerably well but there is some amount of lag in the voice. The current app is stable enough to handle all the calling features, and overall its a well integrated feature into the existing app. It does have the potential to replace phone calls, and will probably be successful in developed countries.
Of course, staying in India, it just isn’t viable to use due to high internet tariffs and major lack of 3G and 4G connectivity even in urban areas. India probably hosts the largest number of WhatsApp users, but barely anyone would even think of replacing their phone calls with WhatsApp calling. It is worth using for calling abroad, though.
Only time will tell how much this feature will succeed.
For now, only Android users will be able to access it by updating their app, and it will come to iOS and Windows Phone OS in “a few weeks”.
That’s it for today! Will you use WhatsApp calling? Do drop in comments on how you feel about the feature.
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