My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Why Facebook Messenger Free Video Calling beats Meerkat, Periscope and WhatsApp


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Why Facebook Messenger Free Video Calling beats Meerkat, Periscope and WhatsApp

Facebook is wasting no time taking advantage of the bigger real estate of the desktop and Mobile.

Not only are they going to challenge Microsoft owned Skype but possibly Meerkat and Twitter owned Periscope as described in my blog article entitled “@sxsw @AppMeerkat vs @Twitter’s @periscopeco – How Periscope submarine-like launch sunk the Meerkat Destroyer”.

Today, Monday April 27th 2015, they've just announced that they're rolling out Video Calling for Messenger as announced in the article “Facebook's Messenger adds video chat”, published April 27, 2015 by Ian Sherr, CNET News.

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I had just returned from the MICO University College only moments ago when I saw the announcement in my Twitter feed. This bit of news caught me by surprise and was announced on Facebook's Newsroom in their Press Release entitled “Introducing Video Calling in Messenger”, published April 27, 2015, FB Newsroom.

And unlike Facebook Hello, another service launched earlier on Wednesday April 22nd 2015 that's available only in US, Brazil and Nigeria  as stated in my blog article entitled “Introducing @Facebook Hello App - Brilliant Anonymous Caller ID People and Businesses Finder with @WhatsApp Wi-Fi Calling”, Facebook Messenger Video Calling is launching in the following countries:

1.      Belgium
2.      Britain
3.      Canada
4.      Croatia
5.      Denmark
6.      France
7.      Greece
8.      Ireland
9.      Laos
10.  Lithuania
11.  Mexico
12.  Nigeria
13.  Norway
14.  Oman
15.  Poland
16.  Portugal
17.  USA
18.  Uruguay

More counties will soon get this service in the following months, with Jamaica possible being one of them.

How to make a video Call using Facebook Messenger – Meerkat and Periscope have a new competitor

To be clear, this is Video Calling not only just over Wi-Fi but also over 3G and 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) Networks absolutely free as noted in the article “Facebook Messenger Launches Free VOIP Video Calls Over Cellular And Wi-Fi”, published 27.04.2015 by Josh Constine, Techcrunch.

That means both the Messenger app and the Messenger website can do video calling, albeit apparently not to each other. The reason has not been explained by Facebook but they’re sure to fix it soon.

To initiate a Video Call, first you have to have either a smartphone with a decent Camera and a Data connection of a Laptop or Desktop computer with a webcam. Once in Messenger app or website, look for a video camera icon in the top right corner.

A simple click initiates the Video Calling Feature, with the user on the other end accepting completing the call, which starts up using the front facing camera. The Video calling features also allow you to toggle to the rear-facing camera, giving them a view of whatever you're doing.

Something tells me that like Meerkat and Periscope, a lot of persons will be using this service to stream live video.

Many, though, will opt to use Wi-Fi, as Video Calling will eat up your Data Plan my blog article entitled “@sxsw @AppMeerkat vs @Twitter’s @periscopeco – How Periscope submarine-like launch sunk the Meerkat Destroyer”.

But if you're friend on the other side of your Video Call has a poor connection, you can assist them by switching to VoIP more or switching off your video feed so that they have more bandwidth to show you the majesty of their surroundings.

Facebook Messenger Free Video Calling - Digicel Zero defends them against WhatsApp but not Messenger Video Calling

In fact, this news is so big, it even got picked up by our local Newspaper, the Jamaica Observer in their article “Facebook rolls out video calls on messenger”, published Monday, April 27, 2015, The Jamaica Observer.

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It's also surprising as Facebook had launched Messenger on its own website on Wednesday April 8th 2015, some three (3) weeks and five (5) days ago as reported in my Geezam blog article entitled “Now Facebook has a Messenger website for your Desktop”.

In fact, Facebook owned WhatsApp had just launched Voice Calling a mere five (5) days ago on Google Android smartphones via their  WhatsApp Version 2.12.1 as reported in my blog article entitled “@WhatApp Voice Calling comes to Version 2.12.1 - How Wi-Fi Calling by Proxy coming to Jamaica with Features to Boot”.

So what kind of Data Plan will Digicel roll out to counter this onslaught of free VoIP Apps, aside from Digicel Zero, Digicel's response to WhatsApp as noted in my blog article entitled “Digicel launches Digicel Zero - How @Digicel_jamaica is testing VoLTE vs @WhatsApp's Free Voice Calling to boost smartphone sales”?

Digicel is sure to want to please their customers by rolling yet another Data Plan that’ll address the need to make Video Calls.

We'll soon know in a few months time when Facebook Messenger Video Calling comes to Jamaica, as Telecom Provider Digicel and LIME cannot avoid these services for much longer.

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