While I wouldn’t put it as something I was absolutely expecting, but a sort of anticipation was always there. Facebook has today announced Video calling feature within its now standalone Messenger Platform. The calls can be made via both Cellular, as well as Wi-Fi networks.
Announcing the new Video calling feature, Stan Chudnovsky, Product Head for Messenger said,
Today, we’re introducing video calling in Messenger. Now you can have face-to-face conversations with your friends and the people you care about, via Messenger.
The app is rolling out on both iOS and Android. As for other platforms, there is simply no news.
So how do you start a video call in Messenger ? Well, it is pretty much similar to how you use the Messenger itself. You can quickly start a video call from any conversation with just one tap. And as Stan puts it, “if you’re messaging with someone and realize that words just aren’t enough“, you can simply choose the video icon in the top right corner of the screen and start a video call right from within an existing Messenger conversation.
While Messenger already offers people the ability to make voice calls, video calling will expand Messenger’s real-time communication features, enabling its use- of over 600 million people who use Messenger every month, to reach others wherever they are, from anywhere. In fact, as has been with Facebook’s recent app launches, the video calling works just fine even if you are on a not-so-good internet network, a case mostly associated with developing nations.
While the feature is absolutely convenient, I would still like to have an Indian perspective over it.
Owing to the recent Net Neutrality debate which we have been witnessing here in the subcontinent, such a feature will definitely irk up the already disturbed telecom operators within the country, Ever since people resented against operators like Airtel, telecom companies, and specially the private ones, have been planning up to roll out extremely expensive internet plans, which if deployed will be virtually out of reach for even the affluent class (taking into account the speculated 6 time rise expected in internet pack rates).
Nevertheless, Facebook has probably already seen telecom operator’s pay in India, and hence hasn’t released the feature for India as of yet. While this could be just the usual release strategy, the current net neutrality debate must have come to the table while Messenger’s latest feature’s release was being planned.
As of now, video calling in Messenger is launching today for people on iOS and Android in Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, Laos, Lithuania, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, the UK, the US and Uruguay. Facebook says it will be rolling out to other regions and locales over the coming months.
Here’s a look at how messenger works :