You can now make video calls using the Facebook Messenger app on your smartphone. The person you’re calling will also need to have the messenger app installed on his or her phone.
To make a call, just open your app, pick the person to call and tap the video camera icon in the top right of the screen.
If you’re already in the midst of a chat, that person will appear in the window. Or their phone will alert them of an incoming messenger call. My husband says his alert sounded like a slightly different version of his regular phone ring.
It doesn’t matter if one caller is using an Android phone and the other an iPhone, as long as you both have the app, you’ll be able to talk. This gives Messenger the advantage over rival FaceTime which can only be used on iPhones or iPads.
Messenger users can already make voice calls to other users. In fact, 10% of mobile Internet calls are made using the Messenger app. That means you can call around the world for free. As long as you’re on a WiFi connection, you won’t even be using your data plan. If you’re own a 3G or 4G connection you will use your data minutes.
Facebook took a lot of heat when it split off Messenger into a separate app, but now there are over half a billion monthly users of Messenger. In addition to messages, photos, video and audio calls, you can also transfer money via Messenger.
I’m old enough that the idea of just picking up my phone anywhere and having an instant video call with someone halfway across the world makes me excited about technology. We’re living in the future after all. This is one of those technologies that I call BTST (better than Star Trek) which means you can easily do things at home that are better than the things they predicted for hundreds of years in the future in science fiction movies.