In this day and age, it is becoming increasingly difficult for any service to survive if it is only a one-trick pony. While Facebook can hardly be called that, and neither is it exactly struggling to survive, it is good to see progress in the right direction anyway. Recently, we saw WhatsApp exploring new avenues by delving into voice calling. Facebook has made a similar leap today, by introducing the capability to make video calls from Facebook messenger. Previously, Facebook partnered with Skype, and many believed messenger’s future to lie in that direction. However, users didn’t take to that partnership as both companies would have hoped, which is why it is great to see video calls on Facebook messenger’s native apps. The update has been released on both Android and iOS simultaneously, though it might be some time before you actually get to use the feature on your phone.
While video calls from Facebook messenger will become available universally in due course, for now the capability has been rolled out in selective countries only. The video calling features is available in USA, UK, Canada, Belgium, Oman, and 13 other countries (18 in total).
The capability to make video calls from Facebook Messenger is truly cross-platform, which means you can make calls from an iPhone to Android with ease, and vice versa. When the updated version of the messenger app is launched for the first time, you will see a few pointers about the newly added calling feature. There is no separate voice call menu in messenger, and all that has changed is the top bar in chat windows. You will see a new camera icon in the right corner of the bar. This icon can be used to initiate a video chat session with a particular contact. Of course, the call’s receiver will also need to have the capability to receive video calls from Facebook messenger.
Like usual calls, FB video calls can be rejected and muted. During calls, users can also choose to turn off their video feed and switch to an audio-only mode. The quality of the videos is pretty good, although it depends heavily on both users’ camera quality.
Facebook video calling will be rolled out globally within a few months. This gives the impression that the roll out will be slow, but one can hope that most countries will get the feature in the initial waves.