Facebook is bringing voice and video calls to its flagship social networking service, according to a report. The service began to be rolled out to selected users as a test on 23 August.
The social network previously tried adding communications to its platform but decided instead to spin off Messenger as a separate app in 2014. The new feature is meant to reduce the need to move back and forth between Facebook’s main app and its Messenger service, said Connor Hayes, director of product management at Messenger.
The company has explored communication services on other platforms, such as its Portal smart displays, and has been working more on integrating its various services. Connor said, “You’re going to start to see quite a bit more of this over time.”
Facebook has long had its eye on the spaces occupied by the mobile operators. Its Messenger service has been very prominent among the OTT players that have moved aggressively into the market for voice and text-messaging services. The current offering is important in that it integrates the already-existing voice and messaging services into the main platform of Facebook, which is used by enormous numbers of people worldwide for a huge range of online activities.
So while the services are not new, the level of convenience is new, and the seamless integration with other functionalities on Facebook is also new. This move is an example of how pure technological innovation can often be less important than the way in which technological innovation is made available. Accessibility and ease of use are key game-changers, and by bringing voice and messaging into the standard Facebook interface rather than keeping them separate, Facebook is likely gaining a major advantage in its competition with major mobile operators across diverse markets.