Facebook seems pretty keen on giving Skype, Viber and other VoIP services a run for their money by pushing the free calling service on its Messenger app to more countries. The Next Web reports that the social network is quietly rolling out VoIP to Facebook Messenger for Android in the UK.
The addition to the Android version of the app comes days after the iOS Messenger app was updated in the UK with the VoIP feature. Just like in the US and Canada, users in the UK can place free calls to Facebook friends using the Messenger app on iOS devices. The feature on Android was first released in Canada.
A new option now shows up next to the photo and camera buttons on users' Messenger profiles. To place a call, you must select the person you wish to talk to and click on the “i” button on their profile to make this option show up.
Some hiccups, but a worldwide rollout is imminent (Image Credit: The Next Web)
Placing a phone call will send a push notification to your friends, who can choose to accept or reject your call. In case they do not have the Messenger app or it isn’t running in the background, you can leave them a voice message. Phone calls will be made over Wi-Fi if the option is available, or the app will use your data connection.
However, it has been noticed that the new feature still isn't free of bugs. While the “Free Call” button has been placed inside profiles, trying to place a phone call sometimes throws up an error message that says, “Unable to make calls. Your friend can’t receive calls right now.”
Facebook has not commented on the issue yet.
The social networking giant had first rolled out the Free Calls service in Canada in January. The VoIP feature was launched on a small scale to see how much water it could hold. This feature was made available to users in the US a few weeks later.
The Messenger app on iOS didn't have to be updated for the feature to show up. Just like in the Android version of Messenger, hitting the “i” button on a user’s profile and then the “Free Call” one enabled users to call up friends.
Facebook has been trying to one-up the iMessage and Face Time services by introducing free calling over Wi-Fi or packet data on iOS devices. Besides the iPhone, this service will be available even on iPod Touch.
Facebook calling is now available in three countries and looks like is on its way to more. India would definitely be figuring in the social networking service’s road map, considering the number of Facebook users in the country is quite high.
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