Following in the footsteps of Apple FaceTime and Google Hangouts, Facebook has finally raised its social game to include video calling via its Messenger app.
Face-to-face video chat will be included in the latest update for the Facebook add-on software for mobiles and tablets and will be free to use for anybody with an account for the social network. No, surprisingly Facebook has not tried to monetize this and the handy new feature will let you show off your mug to single or group message recipients by simply tapping a video camera icon that now appears in the top right of the screen, next to the voice calls/telephone icon on Android or iOS app respectively.
Video calling through Messenger can work on Wi-Fi or a good data connection which would be chargeable by network rates (4G and decent front facing camera recommended) and those who install the latest version will be able to communicate across brands and with anybody in your Facebook friends list or phone book that also have the app installed.
So unlike FaceTime which is strictly iOS based, if you’ve got an iPhone 6 and your mate’s an Android fan with the new Samsung Galaxy S6 you’ll still be able to see each other and shoot the breeze (or argue who’s got the better phone) and do it reliably and with a high quality picture.
It’s interesting to recall that Facebook partnered with Skype, the net’s leading video calling service, back in 2011 but sadly nothing fruitful came from the promising union and it disbanded without making any impact on our online social lives. It looks like Facebook were taking notes however and have now felt it time to go solo.