With the latest beta version (v 2.16.367), you can start streaming any video while it is downloading in the background. For one, it gets rid of the waiting time between receiving the video and downloading and watching it. Secondly, the ability to stream the videos while it’s downloading will help you decide whether you actually want to spend your data downloading it in the first place.
Currently, a shared video comes with the thumbnail image and a download option on top of it, that is of course if you have turned off auto-download. And not unless you have downloaded the video completely can you start watching it.
In the new beta, in place of the download button, you will see a Play icon on top of the thumbnail of the video. The video will begin downloading in the background once you tap on Play, and also start playing the video in the chat window. You will also see the infamous buffering bar like YouTube.
The streaming video feature works only on the beta build for Android and you can only stream videos sent by users using the beta version. Videos shared by a regular user will come with the regular download option atop the video. You can download the beta versions of WhatsApp by signing up with Google Play’s Beta testing community.
With data speeds getting faster by the day, our patience for waiting for a video to download is also going down and WhatsApp which enjoys an active user base of over a billion, knows the needs of its inpatient, video-loving user base.