One feature at a time, Facebook is now porting over capabilities from the standalone Messenger app over to the messaging platform on the desktop. After introducing changes to the theme of the chat interface, the social networking giant has started testing group audio calling on the desktop as well.
Voice calling on groups was first introduced on the Messenger mobile app back in April this year but the same is now being added to the desktop. Whereas 1-to-1 audio calling has been available on Messenger since 2013. This development was first reported by TechCrunch but we’re also seeing the notification saying ‘You can now make a group call.’ This notification will start appearing above the phone icon, which is also being added to group chats on the desktop platform.
To start a call, all you need to do is hit the phone icon and you’ll be required to choose who all from the said group do you want to invite for conversation. Once you’ve selected the members you want to converse with, then you can click ‘Invite’ and a request will be sent to these members to join the call.
Since the feature has been activated for me, so I’ve already called my cohort of friends (shown in the attached image) to test the audio quality — which according to my five odd minutes long test was quite decent.
This feature addition to the desktop now pits Facebook against the likes of Skype and Hangouts — which even though more robust require you to add the person to your contacts via username or email ids. Here you just need to be Facebook friends.
With this addition to the desktop platform, the social media giant is looking to end the monopoly of these messaging clients by moving past text, images, videos (rich media). Now, the only thing missing from the platform, which will definitely kill every competitor in a single blow is — group video calling.
If Facebook intros group video calling on its social platform and ports it over to Workplace as well, then it would become one of the worthy enterprise communication tools currently available. Slack has also just recently introduced the said most important feature — video calling to the mix of services on its platform.