Social network Facebook has added a video calling feature to its in-house Messenger chat system and promised to bring it to the majority of its users in the quickest time possible.
The firm has slowly been making Messenger the de facto communications system on its pages, and the addition of video may make that easier to swallow for some users who feel let down by the walled-chat approach.
The firm said in a blogpost that over 600 million people will benefit from the video calling feature, and that it goes on offer first in North America and Europe. Some large geographies, Australia and Asia Pacific, for example, are currently denied access but should expect it.
"Video calling in Messenger is launching today for people on iOS and Android in Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, Laos, Lithuania, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, the UK, the US and Uruguay," said Facebook. "We'll be rolling out to other regions and locales over the coming months."
Where it is available, the video messaging option is said to be fast, easy to use and able to cross operating system boundaries.
"Messenger already offers people the ability to make voice calls to friends and loved ones around the world," said the firm.
"Video calling will expand Messenger's real-time communication features, enabling the more than 600 million people who use Messenger every month to reach others wherever they are, from anywhere.
"It's fast, reliable and high quality. Video calling in Messenger is available for calls made from a mobile phone to another mobile phone, even if one person is on iOS and the other person is on an Android device."
Messenger is a growth area for the firm, and a business version is currently available on a preview basis. Facebook is also taking Messenger to the Internet of Things party with the Parse cloud platform.
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