Need to Know
- Facebook has announced new video features across its products, including Facebook Messenger Rooms that make connecting with others via video chat and live video “easier and more natural.”
- Messenger Rooms allow users to create chat rooms directly from Messenger or Facebook and invite up to 50 people to join the video call, even if they don’t have a Facebook account, with no time limit.
- Once invited to a room, users can join using their phone or computer and will not need to sign up for an account or download a program.
- This announcement comes at a time when video conferencing is creating serious competition. Zoom shared that its number of daily meeting participants has surpassed 200 million and Google Meet’s day-over-day growth surpassed 60%, making its daily usage more than 25 times what it was in January.
- Facebook is also making video updates to its Live, Instagram, Portal, and Facebook Dating programs.
With social distancing and work-from-home practices in place around the globe, the videoconferencing battle is intensifying. The latest to join the fight and provide people with a means to connect is Facebook, with Messenger Rooms.
“Spending time with each other should be spontaneous, not strained. So to help people feel like they’re together, even when they are — or have to be — physically apart, we’re announcing features across our products that make video chat and live video easier and more natural,” the social media platform said on its website.
The new Messenger Rooms will have no time limit and allow for up to 50 people to join, even if they don’t have a Facebook account. Hosts create and share rooms on Facebook through News Feed, Groups and Events and have the ability to control who can see and join the room as well as remove people from the call and lock the room if necessary.
Invitees can join a Room on their phone or computer without having to download software or apps. Those joining with Facebook’s Messenger app are able to utilize new AR effects and AI-powered features like 360-degree backgrounds and mood lighting.
Video conferencing has allowed businesses to remain agile while the employer landscape changes on a nearly daily basis. Considered by many as the platform of choice, cloud-based video conferencing app Zoom reached more than 200 million daily meeting participants in March. Zoom’s free “basic” accounts allow for up to 100 members and have a 40-minute time limit. Paid accounts with the platform allow more members and 24-hour meeting durations.
Google Meet has also seen an uptick in members as more and more businesses look to connect their at-home workforces. “Over the last few weeks, Meet’s day-over-day growth surpassed 60%, and as a result, its daily usage is more than 25 times what it was in January. Despite this growth, the demand has been well within the bounds of our network’s ability,” Google said on its blog.
Facebook Messenger Rooms launches in some counties this week and will expand to the rest of the world in the weeks to come.