WhatsApp is receiving picture-in-picture video calls and some additional functionalities as part of its latest update which the Facebook-owned messaging service started rolling out to users earlier this week. The company has been developing the PiP video calling feature for a while now, having previously distributed it to beta users in the second half of July. This particular functionality is tied to the native PiP support of Android 8.0 Oreo, meaning that users running any older version of Google’s mobile operating system won’t be able to take advantage of it and it’s currently effectively limited to the Pixel, Pixel XL, and a number of more recently released Nexus devices.
In case you’re running any build of Android 8.0 Oreo and want to try out the new PiP video calls, simply initiate a call and tap the back button, which will consequently reduce the video feed to a resizable and movable thumbnail, allowing you to continue speaking with the other person while simultaneously doing additional things on your smartphone, including using other aspects of WhatsApp. While this functionality is dependant on Android 8.0 Oreo, it doesn’t matter what version of WhatsApp the person on the other side of the call is running, so long as they’re able to initiate a video call. Apart from PiP support, the latest version of WhatsApp also ships with a feature allowing users to send text-only status updates which are ephemeral in nature, being programmed to disappear after 24 hours. Those looking to utilize this new functionality can do so by tapping the pencil icon found in the Status section of the app.
Being Facebook’s second most valuable acquisition to date which cost the Menlo Park, California-based company $19 billion in early 2014, WhatsApp surprised many industry watchers by continuing to operate as a startup until recently, with the company putting growth goals above everything else. It wasn’t until Facebook’s consolidated financial report for the second quarter of the year and Mark Zuckerberg’s promise to investors that WhatsApp will be monetized more effectively going forward that the service started putting a larger focus on profitability; earlier this month, the instant messaging platform announced official support for business accounts as part of a completely new app, its most serious attempt to monetize its solution since its foundation in early 2009.