Facebook testing to add video, voice call features back to its main app
Aug 24, 2021
WASHINGTON: American social media giant Facebook is now testing features to add voice and video calls back to the main app.
These features, which are currently part of the standalone Messenger app, were originally spun out of the company's main app in 2011 and officially removed in 2014.
According to The Verge, these two are several of Messenger features that Facebook has introduced in its other products like Oculus virtual reality headsets and Portal video cameras.
Facebook hasn't shared whether it plans to bring other parts of Messenger back into the fold, but Messenger's director of product management did tell a news outlet that "you're going to start to see quite a bit more of this over time."
The California-based company confirmed to The Verge that it has been testing voice and video calls in "several countries, including the US."
However, Facebook didn't share how many users will see the features, or what this means for the standalone Messenger app in the future other than "for a full-featured messaging, audio and video call experience, people should continue using Messenger."
Adding the voice and video call feature to the Facebook app makes about as much sense as spinning off Messenger in the first place.
It simply means there would be one less app to switch between while doing other things on your computer or phone, but it also means you'll have to interact with, or at least see Facebook on the way, something not everyone would be interested in doing.
There's also the risk that weaving Messenger into Facebook draws the same kinds of criticism that unifying Messenger and Instagram direct messages did. It seems like it makes a giant company like Facebook even harder to break up -- which may be the point.
Also, this isn't the first instance that Facebook has considered getting Messenger back into the main app, either. As per the Verge, in 2019, the company tested bringing text chats back with a dedicated inbox and splashed "from Facebook" across Oculus, Instagram, and WhatsApp.