WhatsApp joined the likes of Skype, FaceTime, Messenger, Viber and Google Duo when it announced video calling feature on Monday.
The app, which was created by former Yahoo engineers and acquired by Facebook in 2014 for a reported fee of $19 billion, currently has over a billion users. The feature rollout is staged and will be hitting different parts of the globe at different times. It’s not yet clear which parts will receive the function first but everyone should be able to use it soon. The function aligns alongside Voice Call option when you hit the call button whose position depends on your device.
The addition of new video calling technology now places the Facebook-owned instant messaging titan in direct competition with Microsoft’s Skype, the leading video conferencing platform at the moment. The Scandinavian messaging company which has been under Microsoft since 2011 is currently commanding millions of calls a month.
While WhatsApp is the leading messaging platform on earth today, Skype is the leading video calling platform as at now but how do the two giants equate? Here is the comparison.
Facebook’s was originally built for mobile phones while Microsoft-owned Skype is primarily for desktops. However, WhatsApp has also extended to desktops as well as Skype to mobile phones. The popular instant messaging heavyweight launched desktop client earlier this year but it’s not as active as other platforms. Skype on the hand was originally designed for desktops backdating to 2003 but also has an app for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone powered devices. Again, they are not as popular as the service is on desktops.
While Skype has a well-established video conferencing function, WhatsApp only allows one-on-one video calling. Skype has recently introduced video conferencing to guest users meaning you do not need to sign up to enjoy the loved call technology.
Chats and calls on WhatsApp are protected by end-to-end data encryption policy and the same is being extended to video calls. Skype also claims some form of data security but Amnesty International has said it’s nowhere close to end-to-end encryption.
According to a study done last month by the human rights agency, WhatsApp alongside Messenger, Google Hangouts and iMessage were ranked as some of the most secure apps. Skype was placed at the bottom along with BlackBerry and Snapchat.
WhatsApp users’ identities are tied to their real phone numbers. In contrast, Skype subscribers can hide behind nicknames.
There are times when authorities have demanded information on private calls and messages. Facebook and Google have been submissive to that respect while other tech giants like Apple have resisted such calls.
The major similarity between the two services is the fact that they both support cross-platform policy. Unlike Apple’s FaceTime, both Skype and WhatsApp video calls can be made from Android to iPhone or Windows Phone or the reverse. The former also has a chargeable calling function that enables desktop users to make calls to their colleagues on mobile phones.
WhatsApp video call has been optimized to work on cheaper phones and in areas with relatively poor data coverage.
The Facebook-owned App is largely accessed for personal use while Skype is dominantly used for business. The Microsoft’s service user base is below 100 million while WhatsApp commands a whopping one billion+ active users and the number is likely to bulge with the arrival of video calling.
The fact that the two platforms dominate on different clients makes them hard to compare. But apparently, the Facebook App comes out the winner.