Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp for all sorts of billions showed the company’s interest in chat despite the fact that it already had a vehicle of its own. In the last year, Facebook has played around with Messenger, first making it a stand alone app and then adding supported chatbots for businesses and other features while leaving WhatsApp largely untouched and clean. Today, Facebook has once again tinkered and added group calling on Messenger.
Facebook Messenger to replace Skype?
No, not yet. Just as Google became a verb, “I’ll Skype you,” became a thing a long time ago and for desktop calling should remain the standard for quite some time. Until it opens quicker, allows for recording (third-party would be just fine) or my mother gets younger than her 70 years overnight, I see Skype being around for some time despite my dislike of most things Microsoft beginning and ending with Windows.
Within the next 20 odd hours, Facebook will give the world group chat for Messenger. The announcement was made by Messenger chief David Marcus on Facebook at about 11AM (PDT) from the Facebook headquarter. Marcus wrote:
Really excited to announce the global roll out of group calling in Messenger today. From any group conversations, just tap on the phone icon to initiate a group call. You can then manage individual participants on the next screen. If you have the latest version of Messenger, you should see the phone icon appear in group conversations within the next 24 hours. Give it a try, and as always, let us know how we can make it even better for you!
Apparently, it’s just that easy to call your entire family to wish them all a Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, or for whatever reason you feel the need to speak with a load of them that can be connected anywhere in the world providing their Internet connection is up to the task.
The update is, as you would expect, completely free to all Facebook and Messenger users (one in the same really) for both Android and iOS.
While starting a new chat was explained by Mr. Marcus, missing a group call is far from the end of the world. If a group call started when you were either away or unavailable and is still in progress, Facebook has made it quite easy for you to join mid-call.
There is, from what I’ve read from Facebook today, no limit to how many people you can include in your call, but well that’s easy to say. Go ahead and call seven hundred people tonight and let me know how that went for you in the comments section at the bottom of this piece.
Messenger is here to stay
With the amount of people using Messenger worldwide, it’s a necessary evil to have. Thing is, it just doesn’t feel half as evil as it does useful. Having introduced VoIP in 2013, a Messenger spokesperson recently told a TechCrunch writer that, “There are situations where typing isn’t enough and when people prefer talking to one another.”
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced last year that Messenger was handling and responsible for 10% of all VoIP calls worldwide just a year after the company began offering one-on-one audio calls.
Remember when you had a landline, or worried about long-distance charges?
We’re clearly past that and Facebook with Messenger is looking at leading the new normal.
They face competition, sure, but they continue the quest for you to simply call someone through the platform as though you always made calls that way.