Meta is rolling out a dedicated tab for audio and video calls to the function bar at the bottom of the Messenger app.
The new tab will appear alongside “Chats”, “Stories” and “People”, and open up to a list of the user’s contacts, along with separate buttons for voice and video calls. It is a subtle change, but likely a move to make Messenger seem more like a messaging and calling app in the style of WhatsApp.
Prior to the change, users had to open up a separate chat thread with a friend in order to call them, the report said.
The new feature allows users to dial friends directly, and may also serve as an introduction to those less familiar with Messenger’s calling features.
According to Meta, audio and video calling on Messenger has increased by 40 per cent since early 2020. It expanded the features available to its encrypted messaging earlier this year, adding reactions, stickers, message-specific replies and forwarding.
The company’s plan is to eventually make end-to-end encryption the default for Facebook and Instagram in 2023. It has added a number of AR effects to its video calls, letting users experiment with filters, masks and animations.
As far as free messaging apps go, Messenger has a long list of competitors, including Google Voice, Viber, Signal and WhatsApp, which Meta bought in 2014.