In a move that appears all set to give a tough competition to services such as Skype, Google Hangouts and FaceTime, it added a video-calling feature to its standalone Messenger app which is currently available to users on iOS and Android operating systems, the company said.
Messenger, with more than 600 million users, now has a video icon at the top right corner of its screen. Earlier this year, Messenger launched voice and video calling between computers.
Video calls only work from a phone to another phone, but they do work even if the person you’re calling is on a different platform – so iOS to Android or Android to iOS, no problem. Video calling will expand Messenger’s real-time communication features, enabling the more than 600 million people who use Messenger every month to reach others wherever they are, from anywhere.
Stan Chudnovsky, Facebook’s VP of growth and global strategy, said that the focus of Facebook’s developers was on making video work well on relatively low-bandwidth cell networks and, therefore, the feature works over both LTE and Wi-Fi connections.
Users just have to tap the camera icon in order to start a call and, once it has started, they can easily switch between the front-facing and rear cameras, or turn the camera off completely. The app is currently available in a few countries, including United States, UK, Canada and France, and is compatible across Android and iOS.