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Facebook Messenger for iPhone Adds Free Voice Calling

facebook logoFacebook has announced an exciting new feature for its Facebook Messenger application. iPhone users in the US and Canada can now make free calls to each other through the Facebook messenger. The social networking giant first tested this free voice calling feature in Canada before rolling it out to US users. Users need not update their existing app to access this feature.

Facebook messenger will use the Wi-Fi connection or the data connection plan to call and there will be no extra charges applicable. So, users who are heavy talkers and who do not like to waste call minutes can use this free calling facility from Facebook. However, users can only call other users who have the messenger installed. Also, it is not possible to call friends logged into Facebook through the website and landline numbers.

Calling on Facebook messenger may not be very straight forward though. Users will not get normal phone calls. Instead, they will receive push notifications on the screen with the caller’s name. If a conversation is already going on with a person, one can call by tapping it. If there is no current conversation, then the following steps need to be followed:

  1. Tap on the compose button available at the bottom right.
  2. Enter the name of the friend with whom the user wants to talk.
  3. Send a message to the friend.
  4. Open the info button at the top right.
  5. Tap on the Free Call button available on the left side of the mid-screen.

Voice calling has been around for some time now. Google has Google Voice and Gmail Chat and there is Skype too. However, none of them have such a wide user base as Facebook. While the web version of Facebook is integrated with Skype, voice calling is completely Facebook-based on mobile phones. For mobile users, the integration of voice calling feature into the messenger means that they do not have to install an additional app into the usually memory-crunched phone devices.

This announcement is the latest in the series of news releases and announcements that Facebook has made in the last few months. On June 2012, Facebook modified the Messenger so that users can quickly move from one conversation to another conversation using in-app notifications. In August 2012, Facebook for iOS was revamped to bring in significant speed and performance improvements. October 2012 saw the release of the messenger app with a new interface. In December 2012, Facebook made it possible for mobile phone users to sign up for the service with a phone number. Now, free calls can be made through Facebook messenger. Each of these changes and additions are aimed at tapping into the growing functional possibilities of mobile phones and expanding the user base.

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