Facebook launches Messenger Rooms to take on Houseparty, Zoom
Messenger Rooms, a group video chat feature on Messenger will allow users to add people from apps like WhatsApp, Instagram and even Portal.
Mark Zuckerberg last night made a bunch of announcements on new features coming to Facebook's suite of products, and updates on its user base. Facebook Messenger is getting a major update where people will be able to join Houseparty-like "Messenger Rooms" without even having a Facebook account.
Messenger Rooms is a new group video chat feature for which users can invite people from other platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram and Portal. This sort of resonates what Zuckerberg had said last year of integrating Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp on a unified messaging platform. Users can create a Messenger Room and share the invite with others who can simply tap on it to join the group call.
"You can start a room for any activity -- whether you're hosting celebrations, game nights, book clubs, or just have some time to hang out -- send people a link, and they can drop in and hang out with you even if they're not on Facebook. You'll be able to create rooms and invite people across WhatsApp, Instagram and Portal as well," Zuckerberg said.
Messenger Rooms will support up to 50 people at a time and with no time limit on group calls. Messenger Rooms will also be visible on top of the News Feed for users to discover which rooms their friends are in and join them. Houseparty, a video calling app which like Zoom gained popularity during this lockdown, has this "rooms" feature. On Houseparty, users can join and leave a room anytime.
Messenger Rooms is currently being tested in a few countries and it will roll out globally in the coming weeks. Messenger is also getting AI-powered effects like 360 virtual backgrounds soon. The new updates to Messenger come at a time when people are extensively using the app during the lockdown. Zuckerberg said the company has seen over 700 million daily active users using Messenger and WhatsApp for calling.