WhatsApp is one of the most popular mobile instant messaging (IM) solutions on the planet, with the Facebook-owned service currently boasting over a billion users. As its parent company strongly believes video content is the future of the Internet, it’s slowly but steadily introducing video-related features to all of its popular services like Messenger and Instagram. After all, it’s easier to successfully launch a brand new feature within an app that’s already being used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide than to try and release a standalone app that’s promising to be the next big thing. At the very least, this approach is a safer bet when you’re a social media giant like Facebook is.
With that in mind, latest reports suggest that WhatsApp just debuted an experimental, video-focused feature in India. More specifically, Indian users of the popular IM service can now apparently stream videos through WhatsApp and enjoy a slightly redesigned user interface. Of course, this functionality pertains to videos sent to you by other WhatsApp users. Up until now, you would only be able to download video clips received via WhatsApp and watch them locally. With this latest update, the app now allows you to start a stream of the video as the download icon in the middle of the video thumbnail has now been replaced with a simple play icon. Once you tap on it, the new video player shows the amount of content buffered so far and is otherwise no different to the one currently being used by WhatsApp. If you still prefer to download video content sent to you by other users, the download icon has now been moved to the bottom-left corner of the video thumbnail. Refer to the screenshots below to get a better sense of how this new feature works.
Now, WhatsApp video streaming is currently only being tested in India, and the Facebook-owned company has yet to issue any official comments on the matter. However, seeing how this is a universally convenient feature, don’t be surprised if WhatsApp opts to launch it worldwide in the near future. After all, more options can hardly be a bad thing.