Christmas may be over, but it looks like WhatsApp is about to provide a gift that will keep on giving to its users… and pile the pressure on Apple, Google, Microsoft and phone carriers.
Leaked screenshots attained by German site MacerKopf reveal the astonishingly popular messaging service, which has picked up over 900M users in just 6 years, is set to launch video messaging.
The shots show a relatively barebones service, but it is the bare bones simplicity of WhatsApp which has made it so popular in the first place and it will send shivers down the spine of Apple (FaceTime), Microsoft (Skype), Google (Hangouts) and carriers. Especially as MacerKopt says WhatsApp video calling could roll out as soon as January.
In addition to video calling, MacerKopt also says a new tabbed interface is being tested in the second notable shakeup of the messaging app’s UI in the last year. It hasn’t managed to attain screenshots of this, but says shades of green dominate the design.
Interestingly, should the German site be on the money, it would mark an impressive period of acceleration for WhatsApp’s development. Having remained relatively unchanged for five years, its sixth (crucially since a stunning $19BN takeover by Facebook) will have seen interface redesigns, desktop access, plus the addition of voice and video calling.
To its credit Facebook has also been smart enough to keep WhatsApp separate from its massively popular, but equally polarising social network. In fact when combined the two services will now have a total user base of over 2BN users (admittedly with substantial overlap) and it is hard to see anyone challenging their dominance going forward.
Consequently WhatsApp video calling not only looks likely, but a complete no brainer…