Video calling on WhatsApp- tough days to come for Google Duo
It is finally revealed that WhatsApp is going to launch the new WhatsApp Video calling feature soon in its stable update. The feature is though still available for all the beta users as the new feature is officially in the beta version of WhatsApp which is likely to come soon in the stable version too.
Thinking about the new video calling feature in WhatsApp, the only thing that comes to my mind at the moment is Google’s Duo App which is a stand alone official video calling app from Google. WhatsApp’s inclination towards video calling has made clear that tough competition is waiting for Google’s Duo in the near future. With a rating of 4.3 on Google PlayStore and more than 10 million downloads already, Google Duo might face a very tough call with the already established WhatsApp with its brand new feature.
Currently, WhatsApp messenger has a rating of 4.4 and has already received more than a billion downloads. With so much of users already associated with WhatsApp, Duo faces a serious competitive disadvantage. The main reason for this disadvantage is Duo being a single purpose, standalone video calling app, while WhatsApp is a multi-featured messenger app with multiple features like messaging, file sharing, and last major release of voice calling which has already brought excitement for the one billion users of WhatsApp app.
With WhatsApp video calling is still a beta release, it has a lot of scope for improvement until it is finally released with the stable version. I have tested the new feature on a regular 4G and as well as on a high-speed wifi connection. The video quality and voice transmission lag a bit even with high-speed wifi connection. As it’s still a beta version, hopefully, the stable version would come with a better calibration in terms of voice and video quality. Otherwise, the app works very fine on almost every device I have tested.
If you are a beta tester, you can test it on your android too-
You can download the app from official website link providing the beta release version 2.16.318 (451462) for beta testers. If you are not a beta tester yet, then you can visit the official website and register yourself as a beta tester in a blink of eye. I have tried this version on a couple of phones and it works perfectly. Call quality was fine and regular, just a bit of lag in the voice,and the video quality was also quite better.
After installing the beta app, you can test the new feature by tapping on the same icon you have used for voice calling. Earlier, clicking on calling tab use to directly take you to the calling interface, but now with this release, the click will open a pop up with two options:
“Voice Call” and “Video Call”. Which is a new experiment by WhatsApp?
Though WhatsApp is not a standalone video calling app, but my expectation for a perfect conversion optimization would be to have a separate video calling menu option at the top like the one in below print. Hopefully, some other testers might also come up with this suggestion too.
For the time being, as a beta release, its a better app with easily accessible new feature which might not be the best option in average connection speed, but I guess WhatsApp would do something about it soon.
How WhatsApp might be a better option than Google’s Duo app?
I can pinpoint some tested points according to my personal experience with both the apps.
Reason 1 : WhatsApp already have a huge fan following, while Duo still has this competitive disadvantage of being a new app in the market. Plus both the apps face competition from other popular Apps like “Viber“, “IMO” and evergreen “Skype” who have also proved to be better alternatives in some cases.
Reason 2 : I have also used Duo in regular 4G and hi-speed wi-fi. Certain times even the connection cannot be established with the other party in both the cases. So, Duo needs to update its average connection performance if it wants to give WhatsApp and other apps a tough challenge.
Reason 3 : Often times, during a call session, Duo looses the video leaving the user with voice transmission only. With so many users from average connection speed, Duo might loose the users to WhatsApp it comes with a better calling experience in average connection speed.
Reason 4: The obvious one, any user would not prefer to install a separate app for video calling if an all in one messenger with so much fan following is already available on their phone from a long time. Users with mid-range and low-range phones are more as compared to high-end phones. In this case, most of the users will not want to overload their phone’s average processor with a separate app.
Reason 5 : The rate of data consumption between the two apps are quite different as of now. WhatsApp in one hand is able to optimize the video quality based on the connection speed, while the Duo app eats a lot of data to maintain the video quality. Anyhow is the connection speed is not sufficient to maintain the high video quality then it just stops transmitting the video until the speed is restored.
On the whole, a tougher competition between Google’s DUO and WhatsApp is expected in the near future. Hopefully, WhatsApp would come with a better calling experience in its stable release if it wants to popularize its video calling feature even more than the standalone Apps like Duo, Viber, and IMO; And Duo would come up with some better calibration too.