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WhatsApp quietly slides voice to video call swapping into its app

WhatsApp has quietly pushed out a beta update that introduces a video call switch into its messaging app, which could encourage people to use video instead of voice calls.

It’s a subtle change, spotted by WABetaInfo, but the beta feature allows people making voice calls through WhatsApp to tap a button to send a request to the person they’re talking to asking if they want to switch to a video call.

If the recipient declines the voice call keeps ticking along, if they accept it quickly becomes a video call.

The feature would seem to do away with the need to hang up during a voice call to switch to video calling. It’s hardly a revolutionary change but it helps make the whole WhatsApp calling experience a little more seamless.

To get hold of the update you’ll need to be part of the Google Play Beta Program, which will give you access to the 2.18.4 beta version of Android which will facilitate the running of the WhatsApp beta update. If all this seems like a bit of a pain, then you can simply wait until WhatsApp rolls the feature out in a full-release update.

The video calling option button is only available during one-to-one voice calls and won’t work for group calls, though we’d suspect that over time such a feature could make it into WhatsApp, especially as smartphone screen sizes are big enough to support split screens.

Such small changes show how WhatsApp under the wing of Facebook is slowly evolving as a mobile communication app.

Related: CES 2018 highlights

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