Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is conducting tests with a view to launching group voice calls on its desktop version of Messenger. Currently, the service is only available to a select number of users. Previously, group voice calls were only available on the mobile version of the Messenger app. This move is likely to pile more pressure on Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Skype just a few days after Slack had added a group video-calling feature on its platform.
Voice call icon added alongside settings
To tell whether one has been selected to test the feature, all a user needs to do is to launch an old group chat session on the desktop. There will be an icon representing voice calling if a user has been selected to test out the service. When the voice call icon is tapped on, names of the group chat members will appear. The members the user wants in the group voice can then be selected or unselected. Group calls are also available on the dedicated website of Facebook Messenger.
Voice and Video calling the new trend in town
In the recent past, there has been increased competition among apps and platforms in incorporating video and audio into their communication offerings. Besides Slack, Facebook-owned WhatsApp, Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google Duo and Tencent Holdings Ltd (HKG:0700) WeChat have also incorporated video and audio. Additionally, Oculus, which is also owned by Facebook also launched a feature known as Parties which allowed calls from VR to VR.
While audio calling has been available on social media platforms for some time now, especially on the desktop, the trend now seems to be moving away from one-on-one interactions to group interactions. With Facebook Messenger having introduced group voice calls it could just be a matter of time before group video calls are also introduced. This should be a matter of concern for Skype which has dominated this segment of the market for quite some time now.
In Friday’s trading session, Facebook gained 0.58% to close the day at $119.87 a share.
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