Facebook has become one of the main ways people communicate. You can post on people's Walls or send them messages using Facebook Messenger. This, in and of itself is pretty impressive, but what's lacking is the ability to call people directly from Facebook Messenger. With the number of people accessing Facebook from their phones nowadays growing more than accessing via a browser, this feature is highly requested.
In early January Facebook announced that they had started testing free calling to contacts over Facebook Messenger. This feature was tested in Canada for all users with an iPhone, and turned out to work well. So, in late January Facebook rolled this out to iPhone users in the US as well.
This new service uses VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology, commonly found in many business's phone systems, to offer users in Canada and the US the ability to call other Facebookers using the Messenger app for free.
Calls can be made via your data connection or over Wi-Fi on your iPhone. No love for Android as of yet, but we are sure it's coming soon. If you use the Facebook Messenger app, you should be able to use it now. You can call other users by:
- Opening the app (or download, install and open it from here) and find the person you would like to call.
- Tapping on their name to start a conversation.
- Pressing the "i" button in the top right of the conversation windows and selecting Free Call.
The user you are calling will see a notification on their phone similar to the one when you get a phone call over your cell network.
Will businesses benefit?
It's hard to say whether businesses will find this feature useful at this time. If your employees use iPhones, and are often in an area with poor cell service but a decent data connection, this is a free way to stay in touch.
This could also prove a good way to deal with public complaints on your Facebook page. You could encourage the person to take the complaint offline and talk to them, as long as you both have an iPhone.
In reality however, most businesses will likely not use this feature at this time. However, there is a good chance that Facebook will release more business oriented calling features in the future which could give you another way to contact clients.
What do you think? Will you or your employees use this feature? Let us know, and if you have any questions about VoIP, please contact us today.