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Will a free video calling feature finally win over critics of Facebook's Messenger app?
Facebook said this new feature allows face-to-face conversations and is initially available on mobile devices running Apple's iOS and Google's Android.
"You can quickly start a video call from any conversation with just one tap. If you’re messaging with someone and realize that words just aren’t enough, you can simply choose the video icon in the top right corner of the screen and start a video call right from within an existing Messenger conversation," Stan Chudnovsky, head of product for Messenger, and Param Reddy, engineering manager, said in a blog post.
Messenger has yet to win over some Facebook users who do not like the idea of a standalone messaging app for the social networking site.
Before this, Messenger already allowed people to make voice calls to friends and loved ones around the world.
"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. It’s fast, reliable and high quality," Chudnovsky and Reddy said.
They added video calling in Messenger is available for calls made from a mobile phone to another mobile phone, "even if one person is on iOS and the other person is on an Android device."
But the Philippines may not initially get the feature, as video calling in Messenger is launching first for people on iOS and Android in Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, Laos, Lithuania, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, the UK, the US and Uruguay.
"We’ll be rolling out to other regions and locales over the coming months," they said.
PC World said the new feature lets Facebook take a jab at Apple’s FaceTime, Microsoft’s Skype and Google Hangouts.
"Facebook previously allowed video calling through its site on the desktop, but not within its Messenger app," it added.
It quoted Facebooka s saying Messenger already handles more than 10 percent of all Internet-based voice calls, and Facebook sees video as "an important extension of its functionality, especially when a voice call won’t do. — Joel Locsin/ELR, GMA News