Facebook has updated its Android Messenger and Home app to allow calls to be made between friends. This feature which was previously available in 23 other countries is now making its way in the United States in a gradual roll out. There’s no manual update that needs to be done and you will know that you can access this feature by the “i” icon that you can see on your friend’s profile.
This VoIP feature of Facebook was first tested in Canada and the US last January for iOS users. Since then it has spread to other countries as well as to the Android platform.
The release of the voice call feature in the US allows anyone to make calls to their friends on Facebook whether they are on an iOS or Android device. To make a call simply tap on the “i” icon of your friend’s profile while on the Messenger app then select “free call”. You can also place a call on the Home app by clicking on the three dots on the upper right side of your friend’s name. This opens up the conversation in the Messenger app where you can make a call following the previous step.
Placing a call using the app does not consume your minutes. It does however use up data so if you’re on a limited data plan then it would be better if you could connect to a Wi-Fi network before calling your friends.
This feature is important for Facebook if it wants to keep its subscribers happy. The social network will soon face competition from Google with its expected unified messaging system soon to be implemented. This combines GChat, Google+ Messenger, Google Voice, and probably Gmail in one platform which can be accessed by various devices. Apple also has its own messaging system via iMessage which users can also access on different devices.