Facebook has been experimenting a lot lately. A multi-billions dollar company should not be content with what it has, should it? Last month Facebook started the voice messaging for its iOS Messenger app. Today it has brought voice calling option in its main iOS app. Now users in US and Canada have option to call their online Facebook friends in the main Facebook app.
What is this voice call?
You can see this option when you tap on a friend’s name. If he/she is online, you can do a voice chat from your phone by clicking on the “free call” button. Of course it will cost you more data charges. No, you cannot call a friend on his/her phone number if he/she is online. At least not now. When a user is not online, the “free call” option is greyed out.
Bah! Sounds more like Skype and Gtalk
Yes! This was my first reaction as well. What’s the big deal. Skype and Gtalk already has this option where you can voice as well as video chat with online users. With Skype, you can also call on a friend’s phone number (using Skype credits) if he/she is not online. So what’s the fuzz about Facebook providing voice calling option?
Tip of the Zucker…oops…iceberg!
Look at the bigger picture. It could be just the tip of the iceberg. Facebook may be (and it should be) planning to roll out complete voice and video chat option in its mobile app. VoIP is a growing industry and $8 Bn selling price of Skype is a confirmation. Facebook is a social network with over a 1 billion people worldwide. It is the de facto standard in social media industry.
With the rise of smartphones, a huge population has their contacts synced with Facebook. What do you see here? An immense opportunity to utilize them for a VoIP project. After all if you have calling options straight in Facebook, why would you go and search for the same friend in Skype or Gtalk?
With its messenger service for SMS it already has reduced the phone bills for many. And with the calling option, it surely is going to reduce it further. What is your opinion on it? Will it be a hit or a miss?