Not content with simply being the preeminent social network, Facebook is setting its sights on the VoIP market. A new version of Facebook Messenger app released this week for iOS and Android mobile devices allows users to record short messages and send them to friends. The ability to send voice messages brings Facebook Messenger up to the level of Apple’s iMessage service and BlackBerry Messenger, which feature similar functionality.
Facebook also announced that it has begun beta testing a new VoIP calling feature that offers free live voice chat. Currently, the new feature will only be available in Canada and is limited to iOS devices. However, if the beta test goes well, Facebook is expected to rollout VoIP to other areas.
While VoIP on mobile devices is nothing new, Skype has been around for a while after all, this move shows Facebook’s increasing focus on the mobile market. The company recently made a change to their Messenger app which allows Android users to login using only a name and phone number, essentially separating the Messenger service from the wider social network. With its sights set on SMS and VoIP, the social media giant has clearly targeted mobile communications as its path to further growth.