The year when video conferencing took over-2020, has been one of the most revolutionary years when it comes to how people communicate. With COVID-19 spoiling the fun for all adventure enthusiasts like myself, video calls became the staple mode of communication, and co viewing online videos became the new definition of ‘hanging out.’ With this in mind, Facebook has confirmed that it is launching a new feature called ‘Watch Together’ for Messenger, which will, like the namesake, allow people to watch stuff together.
The feature was first uncovered by Ananay Arora, the founder of deadline management app Timebound, and was later confirmed by Facebook for being in testing.
The company says that every day, there are more than 150 million video calls on Messenger, and more than 200 million videos sent via Messenger, adding that “Now, with Watch Together, you can enjoy videos and share the experience with your friends in real time.”
The blog also explains why the company decided to add this feature (apart from making more money of course), by saying,” We created Watch Together to make spending quality time with friends and loved ones feel as close to an in-person experience as possible. Whether it’s watching a trending video, a movie, a sports highlight, a makeup tutorial or a Facebook Watch original, the feature allows you to watch your friends’ reactions at the same time.”
The feature is rolling out for users globally on Android and iOS, starting today. Users will be able to access this feature through two of its existing features-Video Calls and Messenger Rooms. If you wanna have a smaller watch party, start a video call using messenger, and then swipe up to access the menu and select Watch Together to watch videos with upto 8 of your close friends. However, if you have something bigger planned, and have always been one of the ‘popular kids’, do the same in Messenger Rooms and you have yourself a watching party of upto 50 people.
Facebook, and particularly, Messenger, is not the first platform to come up with the idea of remotely streaming content together with your friends. In fact, many like Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Twitch already have something like this. The difference? Their catalogue is more organised, and thus, better for planned watch parties. However, if you want to experience the randomness of scrolling through Facebook with a friend, look no further than your Messenger app.