Hardly a week has passed since the much long-awaited video call launched on WhatsApp stable channel. The chat service is allegedly testing another brand new feature on the Android beta version, video streaming. Users could soon stream videos shared via the biggest instant messaging client without downloading them first.
The feature which is currently under testing phase enhances WhatsApp’s video playback mechanism by allowing users to view shared videos as they proceed to download in the background. Users on the main client will get the function immediately the testing process is done meanwhile, for now, it’s only available on the Android beta app. The new function is not also available on the other two active WhatsApp clients, iOS, and Windows Phone as at now.
Initially, videos sent via the chat giant had to be fully downloaded first before a user could start viewing them depending on media auto-downloading status. However, video-streaming will use cellular data or Wi-Fi network to buffer a video as the downloading process continues in the background – like the YouTube buffer mechanism.
WhatsApp Android beta testers will start seeing a different interface when they receive or send videos. Instead of the regular download button appearing in the middle they will now spot a new play button. The download icon has been pushed to the bottom left corner. Once you hit the play icon, the video will start streaming immediately depending on the speed of your data connection. It will continue streaming until it’s fully downloaded when now WhatsApp will prompt you to choose a default media player. Also before you start streaming you will see a dialogue box at the bottom of the video showing its size just to make you aware of how much data will be consumed. The feature thus saves on memory space and users find it easy to decide whether to continue with the download or not after having a glimpse.
Video-Streaming only Available in India at the moment
The feature has been reported by Android beta testers in India in WhatsApp beta version 2.16.365. Users in other parts of the world have not reported similar observation yet. India is a key market to the Facebook App with approximately 20 percent translating to 160 million monthly active users in actual figures. A few days ago while kicking off WhatsApp video calling global rollout, the company said that the feature has been optimized for countries with relatively poor internet coverage like India.
How to join WhatsApp testing program
As mentioned earlier the feature is still confined to Android testers. Non-members or regular users for that matter will still see the normal download icon on shared videos. To join the testing community you will have to sign up on Google Play Website. Visit the site and once the page has loaded look for ‘BECOME A TESTER’ button, tap it and there you are! Already a beta tester you can now go back to Google Play Store, search for WhatsApp 2.16.365, install it and then you can try out this feature. However, video streaming feature will only function if the shared video is from a fellow beta Android tester.
WhatsApp beta testers enjoy the best of features ahead of others. For instance, the acclaimed video calling just reached everyone a few days ago when the testers had been having it for weeks. By the way, the face-to-face chat feature can be gotten by just a simple update and it’s available for Android, iOS, and Windows phones. Evidently, the chat service will be offering a lot in terms of videos rather than just concentrating on the simple instant messaging platform.