Facebook has started rolling out Messenger Rooms, its consumer-based answer to Zoom, Meet, WebEx, GoToMeeting and Teams.
The free service lets users create a room to host joinable video calls with up to 50 people and no time limit, which rivals some competitors and their free versions of videoconferencing and unified communications platforms.
Rooms can be created right from Messenger or Facebook. Users can share links to invite anyone to join even if they don’t have a Facebook account, according to the company’s blog.
Users can share rooms on Facebook via News Feed, Groups and Events, and the platform gives users control over who can see and join the room. Meeting admins can also remove people from the room and lock the room to prevent anyone else from joining.
Many of these features are similar to enterprise-focused platforms that have suddenly become our preferred method of connecting with family and friends during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
According to Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the service is meant to be an informal version of enterprise conferencing platforms.
“You don’t need to schedule time to hang out like other video conferencing tools — it’s much more serendipitous and fun,” he said in a post. “I’ve really enjoyed using it as we’ve been building it. I’ve gotten to catch up with a lot of people I miss seeing around but wouldn’t have necessarily called on my own.”
Facebook has always been more of a consumer play, but it does have robust business offerings, and many industry groups have active pages and online communities via the platform.
However, the company did not detail how Messenger Rooms might help businesses connect with employees, customers and clients. A company blog did say that more features will be rolled out in the coming months.