The rise and rise of the Facebook Messenger service appears to be continuing apace with Facebook implementing a new – and free – video calling service. From now on, all you need do is tap the icon in any existing Facebook Messenger conversation to launch a video call and speak face to face. If you have already begun a voice call through Messenger and want to switch to video you can do that too, simply by pressing the video icon.
This latest move makes a lot of sense for Facebook, who seem hell bent on not only replacing SMS messaging but also, it seems, calls too. Only last April Facebook launched free Voice Over IP (VOIP) calls through the Messenger service and now 12 months later, the social media giants have announced this service as a legitimate rival for Skype, accounting for 10% of all VOIP calls.
With Facebook also recently launching Hello, an app that lets users ignore normal calls and immediately call back via VOIP for free, you would not bet against continuing growth in the telecoms marketplace for the service. This success of course, doesn’t even factor in WhatsApp.
Hello is also aiming to be something of a products and services directory too, by leveraging all of the information that Facebook has gathered from the multitude of business pages that it has on its network.
For example, if someone tells you about a new restaurant nearby, you can search for it, call the restaurant with a single tap and make your reservation, all without leaving the confines of the Hello app.
For a little while we have all been wondering what exactly the end game was for Facebook with Messenger, as some of the directions they were heading in seemed a little confused. The data it obtained, for example, wasn’t too dissimilar to what was gathered from regular Facebook profiles, so it was hard to see what they were gaining. Now though with these latest updates the picture is becoming clearer and the company seems to be set to stake a claim as a big player in the wider marketplace.