Unified Communications Industry News

TMCNet:  Facebook Testing Free VoIP calling in Messenger app

[January 03, 2013]

Facebook Testing Free VoIP calling in Messenger app

Originally posted on VoIP & Gadgets Blog, here: http://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/tom-keating/facebook/facebook-testing-free-voip-calling-in-messenger-app.asp.

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Well, well, well - just days after my "Skype vs. Facebook - How WebRTC Will Turn Friends into Enemies" post where I said Facebook could crush Skype if they chose to get into VoIP, Facebook released a new version of Facebook Messenger for iOS that sports VoIP features.

According to the Verge, "Facebook today began testing a new feature in its Messenger app that lets Canadian users call each other for free anywhere they have a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection. The test for now only applies to Messenger for iOS, but could roll out to Android users, as well as people worldwide, if the test goes well."

I just tried it out on my iPhone and so far it's only one-way voice messages that you record and send to your Facebook friends. Perhaps two-way live VoIP is coming soon. It appears this is a double-roll out. Voice chat only for U.S. but live voice over IP for our Canadian friends. One other note - I tested this and it appears this is no abort. So whatever you record when you push-to-talk is sent whether you like it or not.

Would be great if instead of a proprietary app Facebook used HTML5 along with WebRTC. Yes, I know Facebook went down the HTML5 road before (unsuccessfully), but WebRTC makes this time different. Now just imagine a world with no phone numbers where someone's Facebook ID is their phone number. Sorry, Google+, you still haven't reached critical mass. As for Skype - should Microsoft / Skype be $billions worried Yep.

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