Facebook is making its Messenger app more competitive against Skype and FaceTime, by adding video calling one year after it introduced free voice calls. The standalone Messenger app can now start a video call with other users from within any conversation, by tapping the camera icon, and allows for video calling sessions to work between different mobile platforms, including Android and iOS.
While in the call, users have a fairly standard interface to use, including mute, call disconnection, and camera selection buttons. The function works over both Wi-Fi and cellular connections, allowing it to be used when out and about, but it does require for calls to be placed between mobile phones, without the option to perform video calls to users of the social network's web interface.
The new video calling option is available now as part of an app update, with it now operational in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and 15 other countries, with other regions expected to receive access to it in the coming months.
Video calling is the latest feature Facebook has brought to Messenger in recent months. In March, it rolled out a user-to-user payment system to the app in the United States, and it also revealed it was planning to launch Business on Messenger, a system that allowed customers to communicate with businesses and receive updates on orders, products, and other important items.