If there’s one thing that no one can deny when it comes to Facebook, it’s the fact that it has managed to become an inescapable part of society right now. Everywhere we turn, it’s Facebook this, Facebook that; people are updating each other, adding each other, meeting each other, sharing their daily lives, and sharing things that shouldn’t be shared through the popular social network. Contests from all the big names have Facebook pages; businesses and online stores have Facebook pages in order to measure the pulse of the public when it comes to their brand and to provide better customer service.
A couple of years ago, Facebook also opened up the chat feature, which gave an added reason for users to access the social network. Now users don’t just have to talk over the comments or keep track of each other via status updates – chatting through Facebook became a popular alternative for instant communication and was even seen as viable competition to texting.
Presently, Facebook is taking another stab at integrating more and more into its user’s lives and becoming the replacement for communication technology we’re used to. The company is not just content with merely being accessible and built into your Android and iOS mobile devices via App. It plans on releasing a VoIP service as well.
The Trend in VoIP
The most recent trend in messaging via mobile or online is through VoIP, and it’s for a good reason. A lot of online services now offer the option to make calls through the internet. VoIP is transmitted completely online, so it’s only dependent on an internet connection. Consequently, most of the online services are free. Other VoIP services, like RingCentral, are designed to cater specifically to business users who would need sophisticated and specialized technologies perhaps to manage a multitude of users, which often happens in the case of businesses.
There has been a marked trend towards VoIP, and many IM services have taken advantage of its popularity to give their users access to “free calls”, or at least lower call charges than cellular calls.
Facebook joins the fray
Initially, Facebook had tested a “call” feature in their app. Through this messenger app, they could also make the same "free calls" (this is non-inclusive of the data fees that a user would take up through their carriers) to other Facebook users with the app. It was first tested in Canada where it was received with great enthusiasm. After all, unlike other free VoIP services online, you would still have to add contacts. But since this is integrated directly into Facebook, you already are connected to myriad of people who, ideally, you actually want to talk to.
This call feature, which is a convenient way to keep in touch with friends and relatives, has been officially released in the United States and is free on home wi-fi. You would only have to pay for your internet connection to use the service. This is truly an impressive move by Facebook and a brilliant way to maximize its features as a social network.