Facebook Messenger Now Has Video Chat
Facebook Messenger just recently launched its free VOIP video calling feature over both cellular and Wi-Fi connections for Android and iOS users based in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and 15 other countries that include Mexico, Uruguay, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Nigeria, Oman, and Laos.
This means that any user with a mobile device and with a cellular or Wi-Fi connection can conduct a video chat with somebody (who is similarly equipped/connected) via the Facebook Messenger app on their handsets. And it does not matter what mobile connection both parties have -- as long as it is decent enough, they can video chat for as long as they want.
The social media giant first introduced video calling in 2011 in partnership with Skype. Facebook eventually developed its own video calling feature, and by bringing it to mobile users via Messenger, it could give Skype, FaceTime (for iOS users only), and Google Hangouts a run for their money.
Facebook certainly has the built-in user base to make its free VOIP video calling take off. The social media giant already has 1.44 billion users (and counting), and its Messenger app is used by about 600 million people around the world. As revealed by Facebook mastermind Mark Zuckerberg, Messenger already makes up 10 percent of the global volume of mobile VOIP calls, and he further believes that high audio quality VOIP video calling will eventually replace traditional phone calling methods in the next few years.
And the great thing about it is that Facebook has no plans to charge fees for audio or video calling. Instead, the company is banking on the notion that more messaging activity allows more people to lock on Facebook's News Feed, where the social media makes loads of money from ads.
Using Facebook Messenger's free VOIP video calling is pretty straightforward. Users need only tap the video camera icon located on the top right corner when they are having a Messenger chat with a Facebook contact, in order to make a video call. Cameras are in selfie mode by default, but users can toggle to the rear side camera if they want to. This new feature also cleverly lets one party turn off their video feed in order to make the person at the other end provide a better video quality.
There is a catch, though. For now, mobile Messenger users can not video call with desktop Facebook users. But according to Stan Chudnovsky, the head of product of Facebook Messenger, they should be able to fix that too pretty soon.