Facebook Messenger Group Calling Targets Hangouts And Skype, Call Up To 50 Friends On Voice, Video Coming

In case it hasn't proven obvious enough up to this point, Facebook cares a lot about its Messenger platform. When the company decided to force migrate people over to its standalone Messenger service two summers ago, it was a hint of what was to come. Over the past couple of years, it's become increasingly clear that Messenger could become as important as Facebook itself.

Less than two weeks ago, we learned that Facebook would be employing "Chatbots" on its Messenger service, which would allow companies to automatically respond to certain queries submitted by users, reducing the need for a real person to handle every question. In February, we learned that Facebook is also planning to bring advertising to the platform at some point, although we're still not sure when that will become a reality, or what it will ultimately result in.

Facebook Messenger Group Calls

Today, we learn that Messenger is getting another update, and fortunately, this one has nothing to do with injecting your chats with advertising. With this update, Facebook is allowing people to create VoIP group calls for up to 50 people. It's clear that Facebook has services like Google's Hangouts and Microsoft's Skype in its sights, but also companies like Slack, which will soon be rolling out VoIP capabilities as well to its customers. There's clearly a huge market for simple, feature-rich communications solutions.

Facebook has officially rolled out this update, although it might not affect everyone all at once. If you are unable to start a group call, you might want to reopen Facebook on whichever platform you're using, and make certain that you are using the most up-to-date version on mobile. Getting in on the action is very simple: create a group chat, and tap the Phone icon. During the call, you'll always be able to see which members are active, and those who are not, in case you need to ping them to remind them to pay attention (which we're sure they'll love!).

Overall, this is a great update from Facebook, and one we're guessing Microsoft and Google wish hadn't come to fruition.