It’s been a long time coming, but Facebook is in the final stages of launching its Voice Over IP service. The latest update to Facebook’s messenger app (launched today) allows users to record a message and send it to their friends.
To create a voice message simply download the new update and then press the + button instead of typing a message. This brings up a screen that allows you to “record voice”. Once you’re done your message will be sent to whomever you choose.
This is the first step of a gradual roll out of full VoIP capabilities in Facebook. Users in Canada are already able to enjoy free phone calls using the new service. Of course they’ll still have to pay for their data charges, but suddenly the Facebook phone becomes a reality. Perhaps not how originally predicted, but it doesn’t take the brains of an arch bishop to realise that there will be a larger vision at play here.
Is this the beginning of the end for phone numbers?
These days, thanks to the memory in our smart phones, most of us don’t feel the need to remember multiple phone numbers, but now we won’t even have to do that. A quick connection on Facebook and we’re done!
So what will the uptake be like?
VoIP services have always been plagued by the need for both parties to have the same specific software installed. However, as Facebook has such huge market penetration this isn’t really an issue. In fact it’s just another reason to join and interact on the network which equals more revenue for the social network behemoth. It will be interesting to see what happens over the coming months.
So what will the impact on the marketing world be?
Could we see companies being able to run call centres over Facebook? Is this the start of applications taking advantage of voice commands or are we just seeing the launch of a new advertising format? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
James Lawson, Consultant