If you’re a Skype user and an iPhone owner you may already be aware of this particular wrinkle: that, using the Skype app for iPhone, you can use your phone’s internet connection to make a phone call to someone on Skype. If your phone has access to Wifi, you can do it by completely bypassing the cellular phone system, using neither your minutes or your dataplan.
This week, Facebook rolled out the same functionality to its Messenger app, so lets talk about what that actually means.
First, this is a capability of the Facebook Messenger App, not the basic Facebook app. Messenger integrates texting on your phone with messaging in Facebook, unlike the basic Facebook App, which just delivers a more mobile oriented Facebook experience. The new service will allow users to make phone calls to folks that they could message on Facebook… if they have the Messenger App, and are currently signed into it. Right now the feature is only available to iPhone users with the app. From Geek.com:
Currently, there isn’t any word regarding if or when the feature would roll out to other mobile platforms, such as the Android Messenger app, or if it would even roll out to the website. It’s probably a safe bet that these features are either coming soon, or at least in a development phase. We would hope that whenever the feature does roll out to other platforms, it will allow cross-platform calls, which would help make the feature more competitive with other VoIP services, such asSkype.
It’s unclear, from the information I’ve been able to find, what this means in terms of Facebook’s new messages policy that allows anybody to send messages to anybody. Anyone user of the Messenger App who wants to completely eliminate the possibility of getting a phone call from a random Facebook user might want to doublecheck their privacy settings.