SOCIAL NETWORKS: Messenger Rooms is the new video conferencing service from Facebook. Video calls can accommodate up to 50 people, and last as long as desired
Facebook responds to the competition. With confinement, videoconferences have multiplied in the world of work but also among individuals. To counter the expansion of Zoom or Teams, video software that has conquered millions of confined users, Facebook launched Messenger Rooms on Friday. The idea is to be able to “take a leap” at someone’s house, Mark Zuckerberg, the boss of the global social network, told AFP.
“It’s designed to be spontaneous. I can just keep a window open and people I might not have bothered to call can drop by, ”he said. “I think this is what we are missing right now.”
Creation of virtual “rooms” to welcome guests
Video calls can accommodate up to 50 people, and last as long as desired. Participants will not need to have a Facebook account. If they do not have the application, the link sent by a friend will open a page on their Internet browser.
Unlike the platforms originally planned for professional meetings, such as Zoom or Teams (Microsoft), Messenger Rooms is a friendly social space for birthdays, aperitifs, book clubs, parent groups, etc. Platform users will be able to create virtual “rooms”, indicate the type of activity and send invitations.
“I can sit on my sofa over the weekend and decide to invite my friends into the” room where we hang out on his sofa “,” said Mark Zuckerberg. The new interface will include augmented reality effects (rabbit or alien ears, etc.), as well as backgrounds, like on Zoom, to give the false impression that we are at the beach, for example.
No Zoombombing possible on Messenger Rooms
The containment and success of Zoom gave a boost to the tech giants who already offered similar video calling services, professional or personal, such as Teams (Microsoft), Hangout and Meet (Google) or Facebook (Messenger, WhatsApp and also the live video on Instagram).
In recent weeks, Zoom has been widely adopted beyond companies. Confined families use it to take lessons, to exchange with their colleagues, to socialize… The screenshots of “mosaics”, showing the thumbnails of all the participants in a call, have flooded social networks. The platform exceeded 200 million participants in daily meetings in March, compared to 10 million last December.
But it also links security problems, untimely intrusions into schoolyards or business meetings (called “Zoombombing” ), to data leaks. Facebook said it has built strong defences against this kind of risk. “There are tools to expel people easily. You can lock the room or close it if it goes wrong, “said Mark Zuckerberg.
New features also on WhatsApp
Messenger Rooms will be made available to its 2.5 billion users worldwide in the coming weeks. Facebook plans to add the possibility of creating “rooms” from its Instagram and WhatsApp applications and using its range of Portal connected screens.
It will also double to eight the number of participants simultaneously in a video call on WhatsApp, even if it is more technically complicated since this platform is encrypted from start to finish (from one user to another, and not just the software in itself).