After a short two week wait, Facebook launches its project Messenger rooms video client. The free chat platform, which can accommodate up to 50 people, is accessible to everyone on the Facebook website, the Facebook mobile app (or Messenger) or WhatsApp beta app. Surprisingly, you can also invite people without a Facebook account to join video chats.
Messenger Rooms are already well integrated into the Facebook ecosystem. Most people will start video chats via the Messenger client, but you can also share or schedule big conversations via your news feed, groups, or an events page. And since Messenger Rooms comes with a mess of security functions, it’s easy to limit the number of people per room, lock strangers, or chase people you don’t like.
Facebook is trying to compete with services like Zoom and Google Duo, which are growing in popularity due to social isolation. It’s a smart decision: Messenger Rooms is integrated with Facebook and should appeal to ordinary people who don’t want to sign up for a new service or download a confusing new chat client. What’s more, Rooms already feels polite, and it even has fun AR and virtual background tools.
Soon, the message rooms will work seamlessly on Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Portal (the Facebook smart home device). Facebook is already testing its video chat tool in the latest beta version of WhatsApp, but the company hasn’t announced an official launch date for Rooms on WhastApp.