Last year in June, we reported that Meta, the parent company of Facebook, was in the process of enabling users to represent themselves using animated avatars during video calls on WhatsApp. Now, it appears that the development of this feature is nearly complete, with the company making it available for testing to select beta testers.
On Friday, WABetaInfo stumbled upon this new functionality in the latest beta version of WhatsApp for Android (v188.8.131.52). The app informs users about this feature through a notification banner stating, “Using your avatar on calls.” As per the notification, “When you switch to your avatar, it will mimic your facial movements and expressions in real-time.” Users can also deactivate this feature during a video call to reveal their actual selves. Importantly, even when using avatars, your calls will remain end-to-end encrypted.
To utilize this feature, users need to tap the ‘Switch to Avatar’ button displayed on the banner. If not interested, they can simply tap ‘Not now.’ Regrettably, the publication did not provide a visual demonstration of how the feature appears in real-life usage. Nonetheless, it is expected that avatar video calls on WhatsApp will resemble those available on Facebook and Instagram. Therefore, if you have already employed avatars during video calls on Meta’s social media platforms, a similar experience can be anticipated on WhatsApp.
At present, there is no official information regarding when Meta will introduce avatar video calls in the stable version of WhatsApp. However, given that it is currently undergoing testing, it is likely that the feature will be integrated into the app within the coming weeks. Over the past few days, Meta has also introduced Channels and a high-quality image-sharing option to WhatsApp. Furthermore, the company is planning a significant redesign for WhatsApp on Android in the near future.