Facebook Messenger Launches Video Calling

Just a month after the company’s F8 developer conference unveiled the Messenger Platform, Facebook has rolled out video call functionality to its stand-alone communications app.

Facebook Messenger video calls are live for iOS and Android devices, beginning today. International, cross-device video chats won’t cost Messenger users a thing, either — as long as they are connected to WiFi. Video calls made over cellular networks will, of course, be charged against a user’s data plan; though, for the time being, Facebook doesn’t plan on adding any fees of its own to the service.

Facebook Messenger video call button

Mobile users will not — immediately, at least — be able to video chat with friends using Facebook for desktop; though, I imagine that would be an easy thing for FB devs to correct down the road.

TechCrunch spoke to Facebook Messenger’s Head Of Product Stan Chudnovsk today, who noted that group video chats, along with video stabilization technology, could make an appearance in future releases. For now, the company will focus on ironing out the bugs of the initial video call offering, and rolling the product out to additional countries (which could provide even more of an incentive to those with family/friends located internationally).

With competitor Twitter recently rolling out Periscope, and independant app Meerkat both making waves in the livestream video pool, it will be interesting to see if Facebook uses this foray into video chat as a stepping-stone into the medium itself. There’s currently no indication the company is looking into offering livestreaming to user’s timelines — though, video calls in Messenger would lead to a quicker adoption rate for livestreams if the interest is there.

Facebook Messenger video calls are currently available in the US, UK, and Canada, in addition to Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, Laos, Lithuania, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, and Uruguay.