On Saturday, Facebook launched Messenger Rooms, a tool that would allow “anyone” to video call with up to 50 people soon. Built on top of Messenger, Facebook’s flagship chat app, Messenger Rooms’ existence is pretty self-explanatory. Messenger Rooms exist because there’s growing demand for group video calling platforms in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
It all starts with the general availability of Messenger Rooms. Anyone can theoretically video chat using Messenger Rooms, though you must have a Facebook account to create a room. Rooms can be created via Facebook or Messenger alone for now, though Facebook says it is working on ways to create rooms from Instagram Direct, WhatsApp and Portal, also.
According to the last beta-version, Facebook might be looking to use Messenger-Rooms to integrate WhatsApp – Messenger in the coming days. According to the finding, WhatsApp beta version for Android 2.20.139 apparently comes with a shortcut to Messenger available in the chat or group share sheet that will allow users to create Messenger Rooms links. The option to create a Messenger Rooms link will apparently also be available in the calls tab and when you’re trying to call someone. You’ll of course be directed to Messenger to create it.
As part of its efforts to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger, Facebook is working on end-to-end encryption across its products. Saying something is easier than implementing it though, something that Facebook points out in its Messenger Rooms announcement as well. “There are significant challenges to providing end-to-end encryption for video calling with large groups of people.” Which is why Facebook has launched a dedicated video-calling tool rather than increasing the participant count on WhatsApp to 50. Bringing end-to-end encryption to Messenger and Instagram Direct won’t be easy either especially because Facebook (also) makes money off them through targeted advertising.
We all know that Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion in 2012, and bought WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion. So, by integrating its most popular apps, Facebook may be able to compete more directly with Apple’s iMessage.
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