WhatsApp Joins Rivals From Snapchat to WeChat in Video Calls

Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp has finally joined rivals from WeChat to Snapchat in offering video calls.

The messaging service, responding to popular demand, will begin rolling out the long-awaited feature to its 1 billion-plus users across the main mobile software platforms, including Apple Inc.’s iOS, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows. WhatsApp was one of the last major messaging services to offer voice-calling, and is now catching up with Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat and Snap Inc. as well as Google and Apple.

“We’re introducing this feature because we know that sometimes voice and text just aren’t enough,” it said in an e-mailed statement.

Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014 for $22 billion and the chat app has since focused mainly on expanding its audience, not making money. Still, WhatsApp has evolved from its roots as a bare-bones texting platform, and video-calling could increase the loyalty of its user base until Facebook works out a business plan.