iOS and Android users with the Facebook Messenger application can now send up to 1 minute long voice messages. Facebook are also testing a VoIP calling service in Canada.
iPhone users just have to press the ‘+’ button in their conversation streams to be given the option to record their voice. On Android, a red circle record button has appeared in the app.
The service has an obvious appeal: voice messages are more personal and easier to create than text messages, while also being less disruptive than calling the recipient, as voice messages appear alongside normal text messages in the stream.
Facebook have also begun testing a VoIP service for Canadian iOS users. Those with access to the service can only call other Canadian iPhone owners who have the app downloaded but, if the test is successful, the service will become available to everyone who has the Messenger app.
Facebook are clearly making a move into the lucrative internet calling service that is currently dominated by Skype. Facebook’s popularity gives it an obvious advantage and, if Facebook were to provide a VoIP service to all users, it would dispense with the need for phone numbers.
Facebook have already introduced something similar in France in association with telecommunication giant Orange: the “Party Calls” service allows Facebook users on Orange to call each other without knowing their friend’s phone number.
The VoIP service is currently free of charge and there is no reason that it should not remain that way, but it will use up some of the data allowance on your mobile contract.
Would you use Facebook to make phone calls?
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