App now allows users to record and send messages to family and friends; phone calls currently limited to Canadian users with remaining markets being available “over the next few weeks.”
Facebook Inc. has rolled out what might possibly be one of the single most disruptive technologies to hit the mobile market in quite some time. For, today Facebook Inc. released an update to its iOS and Android Facebook Messenger apps that allows users to make free phone calls (data plan applies) and send voice messages to family and friends.
“Text your friends for free,” writes Facebook. “Get Facebook Messenger to instantly reach friends on their smart phones, feature phones or desktop computers.”
What makes the new version of Facebook Messenger so powerful is that virtually every body you want to communicate with uses the Facebook social network. Sure Skype and other VoIP apps are better and more powerful (video anyone?), but how many people have them installed on their phone or even have a Skype account at all? Lots of people already have Facebook Messenger on their phone, and these new VoIP and messaging capabilities will only increase those numbers substantially.
Now initially the free VoIP (phone) service will be limited to Canadian users as Facebook Inc. tests out the system, but it will be “rolling out [everywhere else] over the next few weeks.”
Canadian users who update will be greeted to this message in the Canadian iTunes store:
To use the service, Canadian users will be able to log into their Messenger app, open a conversation with the person they want to call, hit the ‘i’ button in the top-right corner and selecting ‘Free Call.’ To send and receive calls, users will need to have the latest version of the app that is available today.
So what does it look like – for the rest of us anyways? Here’s a look.
Now when you create a new message you’ll see a “Record Voice” option.
Now touch and hold the record button to leave a message; releasing the button ends the recording.
Now you’ll see your new messages appear. Click on the play tab to hear your recording.
Other features include:
- Chat with a group
- Send voice messages, photos, smileys and other emoji
- Get push notifications
- Know who’s seen your messages
- Include your location
What do you think? Is Facebook Messenger a viable alternative to Skype and other VoIP apps?
[email protected] | @jaredmoya