Need to send a message, make a call or start a video chat? There’s now a Facebook app for all of that.
Facebook Messenger introduced video calls in late April, and the company recently told Mashable that more than a million people had used the Messenger app to make a face-to-face video call during the first two days the feature was available.
Over 600 million people have downloaded Facebook’s standalone messaging app all over the world, but the voice call feature was only introduced in 18 countries, including the U.S., the U.K, Canada, Mexico, and France.
It’s a response to Skype and the iPhone’s built-in FaceTime feature. But unlike FaceTime, Facebook Messenger can set up video conversations between iOS and Android callers.
The fact that Facebook Messenger’s video-calling feature was so quickly adopted by such a large number of users proves that Facebook does have the potential to reach its goal of being the world’s defacto communication platform.
Now you can use Facebook Messenger to send a chat, call someone, start a video conversation—or do all three at the same! These mobile features fall right in line with Facebook’s master plan for the messaging app: to be so ubiquitous all around the world that it becomes a utility, like Wi-Fi and plumbing. Especially in developing countries where feature phones can’t access and display all of Facebook’s other social capabilities.
The story behind the story: Facebook owns another messaging app, WhatsApp, which also has a video-calling feature, but Zuckerberg and Co. seem set in focusing on Messenger’s growth and trying to narrow the user base gap between the app’s 600 million users and Facebook’s overall audience of a whopping 1.44 billion.
During Facebook’s annual F8 conference for app developers last March, the company unveiled plans to turn Messenger an e-commerce platform as well as an app store. With the more recent launch of video-calling, it’s possible that Facebook Messenger could evolve to incorporate a group video chat feature more similar to Google Hangouts, or perhaps be able to broadcast live video feeds like Periscope or Meerkat.