For a long time, Apple ruled the roost when it came to face-to-face video chats via their Facetime platform. Through the years others have tried to compete, notably the major cellular carriers with not much success. This past summer has seen a new wave of entrants eyeing the market led by Google with their new Duo app for video chats. Not to be outdone by their social media platform competitor, Facebook announced today that they are bringing Instant Video to their Messenger platform for face-to-face video chats.
In their announcement, Facebook notes that the ability to conduct a video chat session is not a new concept, but in the past has primarily been used only for special occasions like birthdays or holidays as a way for far flung families to stay in touch. As faster networks and better smartphone cameras are much more common now, it is much easier to launch a successful live video session, meaning the technology can be used for real-time face-to-face messaging.
To make use of the new Instant Video feature, both sides of the conversation need to have Facebook’s Messenger app installed on either an iOS or Android device. The users also have to both have a Messenger conversation going and have that thread open in the app. From there, it takes nothing more than tapping on the video icon to start sharing real-time video. In an interesting twist, the video will launch with sound turned off by default, but users can enable sound. The video will launch in a small window that will float over the active Messenger conversation.