Are calls too boring? Texting not fast enough? Messaging too deprived of visuals and sounds? Facebook has an answer for you – a smartphone messaging app with video chat and very, very familiar interface. One you see everyday on your computer.
In an attempt to widen their reach and win even more popularly points among the smartphone crowd, Facebook has added video calling to the brand’s messaging app. Once you start the app, look no further than the top right corner of the screen to find the video camera icon that opens up your friend’s or colleague’s face.
Video chatting has been around for a while, but when one of the world’s largest companies decides to put its own spin on it, one has to wonder if there will still be such a thing as competition in the market.
While Facebook’s messaging app only has a little over 600 million users, the mother site currently has more than 1.4 billion. It’s a safe assumption that some of them will be drawn to the app’s new feature as the company is also working on soon allowing people to call their Facebook contacts without exiting the program.
VP of Growth Stan Chudnovsky sums it up nicely:
You don’t have to close it, go to another app, launch that app, connect with them in that other app, and then finally starting the call with brain damage from how you’re actually doing it.
The service is compatible with the ever popular Apple products, as well as Google Android devices (iOS). It’s free of charge, built to work over Wi-Fi and cellular networks, and allows users to switch between text and video in the middle of a conversation, or whenever they like.
It also allows users to switch between audio-video calls to just audio calls, and Facebook even goes out of its way to notify you if a connection is weak enough that video won’t work properly.
The new feature works on both new, high-tech devices, as well as older devices, and automatically adjusts the quality of the call according to your connection.
One particular thing about the product is the option of one person to switch off their own video feed so that the other person’s can become of much higher quality. Explorers, concert lovers and news hounds should all enjoy sharing experiences this way.
Video Calling is only available in 18 countries for the time being – the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Belgium, Norway, Mexico, Denmark, Poland, Greece, Croatia, Lithuania, Laos, Portugal, Nigeria, Oman, and Uruguay – but you can expect the service to extent to other countries in the following months.
The company is also working on developing video conferences. As Chudnovsky put it:
Group video calling is definitely a use case that a lot of our people might be interested in at some point…[and] it would be a big deal if the whole [shakes hand to simulate lack of video stabilization] thing goes away.
He revealed that video calling came into being due to feedback from their customers: “Unprompted, a lot of people said ‘we’d like to have a face-to-face conversation over Messenger” and claims that “It’s survival of the fittest inside the company. Only products and features people actually want survive and that’s how the product keeps getting better and better”.
Image Source: thebitbag.com