Facebook launches Group calling on Messenger

You can finally make group calls with Facebook Messenger.

Facebook apparently wants people who use voice apps to think Messenger before using their telecom phones. Skype and Hangouts had better take notice.

Messenger is fast becoming an all-star utility player for Facebook. Every time someone looks up, it seems, the social network introduces a new function that runs on it.

A year ago, Facebook enabled video calling on Messenger. Last week at its F8 conference, Facebook released a new Messenger platform for developers that includes a beta program for the popular Chatbots. Go here for more information on this.
To view larger image (at left), click on the photo and select "View image."

On April 20, it was the global rollout of free-of-charge Group Calling on Messenger for iOS and Android smartphones. From any group conversation, users need only to tap on the phone icon within the app to start a group call. They then can manage up to 12 individual participants on the group call -- read that "invite" or "not invite" -- on the next screen.

Chat friends the user wants to include will all receive a Messenger call simultaneously. If you are selected but miss the initial call and it's still in progress, you can tap the Phone icon in the group chat to join the call when you can.
At any time the initiator can see who's on the call and even send another ping to anyone who hasn't joined.

Telecoms? Who needs telecoms? For that matter, who needs concalls? The old T-shirt and bumpersticker message, "IP on Everything," is becoming only too true.

Actually, Microsoft's Skype and Google's Hangouts might need to take some serious notice. All of this functionality is free to Facebookers.

Users with the latest version of Messenger should see the phone icon appear in group conversations within the next day or so, Facebook said. Facebook encouraged users in its corporate blog to give it a try and then register feedback if possible.

Facebook apparently wants people who use voice apps to think Messenger before using their telecom phones. The network began offering VoIP three years ago, introduced audio calls in April 2014.
Last year, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed at F8 that Messenger already comprised 10 percent of all mobile VoIP calls globally. That's a solid adoption curve, but it does help matters when there are 1.49 billion Facebook users on Earth.

For Messenger to completely replace phones, of course, everybody would have to be Facebook subscribers, and it certainly makes it easier if everybody was "friends" with everybody else. That, of course, will never happen.

However, unlike phone numbers, Messenger enables users to easily block people they don't want to engage.

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