Last month, Facebook launched a free video calling feature in its Messenger app so you can set up face-to-face conversations with your family and friends with just one tap. Facebook Messenger’s video calling feature started in 18 countries, including Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, Laos, Lithuania, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, the U.K., the U.S. and Uruguay. Facebook Messenger’s free video calling feature has now rolled out worldwide, according to Facebook’s Vice President of Messaging Products David Marcus.
Marcus pointed out that there are a few countries that do not have access to the free video calling service due to quality issues, especially since the feature does not require a WiFi connection. Marcus said that he “would love to offer the service in UAE, but operators are blocking it.”
You will need to have the latest version of the Facebook Messenger iOS or Android app downloaded for access to the video calling feature. And the callers on both ends need to have the Facebook Messenger app. By adding a video calling feature globally to Facebook Messenger, Facebook now strongly competes against Apple’s AAPL +0.03% FaceTime, Microsoft’s MSFT +0.04% Skype and Google’s GOOGL +0.65% Hangouts.
To use the video calling service on Facebook, click on the video icon at the top right corner of the screen. This lets you start a video call from within an existing Messenger conversation. Once you start the video call, the camera starts in selfie mode and you will be able to switch to the rear camera. During a video call on Facebook Messenger, a small window shows what your camera is pointing at — which you can drag around. You can also cut the video feed on your end and play just the audio of the conversation.
Facebook currently has over 600 million monthly active users and there are plans to make it a broader platform. Facebook Messenger lets users send payments to each other. Facebook also launched a standalone website for Facebook Messenger called Messenger.com. And Facebook is reportedly in talks with third party developers to build apps and games for Facebook Messenger. Some of the launch partners Facebook partnered with to build Messenger-related apps include ESPN, The Weather Channel and JibJab.