In the last month, online conferencing platforms and voice call apps have seen a massive increase in their usership as a result of social distancing. Because video chatting is now the most effective way to stay in touch with friends and coworkers, we are expecting to see a steady rise in the use of video and voice calls made over chat apps and other online platforms.
Facebook has responded to a recent surge in the use of its Facebook Messenger on desktop web browsers by releasing a standalone desktop app, and it’s available in any app store. This Facebook app was previously only available on android devices and iPhone apps, but people are leaving behind video chat apps on their mobile devices for their desktop counterparts. We can surmise that users are likely making the switch from mobile devices to the desktop version of messenger for the convenience of having a bigger screen and keeping their hands free. This desktop app has all the same features of the mobile app, plus a few added features. And Facebook is keeping true to their promise; it’s still free.
Facebook’s New Desktop App
The desktop app’s new features are pretty amazing, but not so much in the sense of its audio and video capabilities. The reason why the voice call app’s features are so unprecedented is because they’re free. Free versions of other online platforms for voice and video conferencing typically tend to come with certain limits, such as limiting the amount of time and number of callers that can be added to video meetings and voice calling.
Another convenient feature is that users will no longer need to access Facebook Messenger through their web browsers. They will have a dedicated window to stay in touch with friends and coworkers, just as they would with the Facebook app or Messenger app.
Facebook has made its Facebook Messenger app available to everyone with unlimited voice and video calls, but what do we mean by unlimited? Its video and voice call features can host as many people as you want and for as long as you want, making it stand far above other platforms, such as Apple’s Facetime, Google’s Hangouts, Google Duo, and Zoom video chat.
Will People Make The Switch?
As people are choosing to use their desktop computers in place of mobile apps for their video conferencing needs, there will undoubtedly be a competitive movement to improve these platforms in an effort to make them more attractive to users.
Zoom for example, only allows 100 participants in its free version, and group meetings, both video and voice calls, are limited to 40 minutes. Zoom is often considered to be a better choice for businesses because it is separate from other social network platforms. While Facebook Messenger has traditionally been used as a social network to hang out with friends and stay in touch with family, its new free features, especially unlimited video meetings, will more than likely draw some attention from businesses that are looking to cut some costs during this time of social distancing.
Apple’s Facetime allows up to 32 participants for voice and video calls, but there is one major drawback to anything related to Apple: its apps are exclusive to Macs, iPhones, and iPads. So anyone using Windows or Android devices will be unable to access these platforms.
While Google Hangouts offers an unlimited platform in terms of call time, only 10 participants can be on a call at a time.
Another important factor at play is the fact that nearly everyone already has a Facebook account, which makes the app available for nearly everyone to use. But what about using Facebook Messenger for business? As we mentioned previously, many employees who are now working from home may feel somewhat reluctant to connect with their coworkers using their social media profiles due to privacy concerns. However, many employers are more focused on the need for fiscal responsibility at this time.
How Will They Perform?
What will be interesting to see in the coming days and weeks is how well these video chat apps and platforms are able to stand up to the massive surge in users, especially for the use of zoom video chats, which require a higher level of data to be handled. Zoom, in the last month, has seen its daily active users jump from 10 million to over 200 million, and it remains to be seen how well its servers will be able to facilitate this level of traffic for an extended period of time.
Facebook, on the other hand, has massive data centers across the US and around the world. Their enormous capability to store and process data will be a huge asset to help this new desktop app catch on.
Facebook’s bold decision to create and release a new desktop app version of Messenger that offers unlimited access to voice and video calls is an unprecedented move, and it may completely disrupt the way that online video conferencing platforms operate, on desktop and mobile devices. So whether you are looking for a video call app to hang out with friends or keep your workforce on track, the new Messenger app is a safe bet.
Increased traffic due to social distancing has made the need for these platforms and chat apps more necessary than ever to conduct audio and video for both businesses and individuals, and some platforms may not be able to keep up with the growing demand. The new Messenger app for desktop will be a strong candidate due to its free features and massive capability to process data, and many users and businesses will find the free, unlimited features very attractive. If you would like to learn more about the new version of Messenger, you can visit the Messenger help center.
If you are looking for ways to save money and run a business with a remote workforce, download the new video call app from your app store. If you would like to learn more about how Strong Digital has been accomplishing this for the last 7 years, please contact us.