Facebook enables free voice calling for Android users in the US

By on April 19, 2013, 8:30 AM

Facebook has rolled out an update to its Messenger app for Android that will allow users of the social network to start free voice and video calls with friends over a Wi-Fi or data connection. The free calling service launched for US and Canadian iPhone users back in January, while Android users received the feature early last month but only in Canada -- and 22 other countries since then.

The rollout will happen gradually throughout the day and doesn’t require a manual update -- although you and your friends will need to have the latest  current version of Facebook's standalone Messenger or Home apps installed in order for the feature to work.

The feature is a bit buried within Facebook’s messaging clients. To initiate calls from Messenger you’ll need to tap the ‘i’ icon button to the top right on a conversation and then select Free Call from your friend’s contact card. If you're using the new Chat Heads app that arrived with Facebook Home, you'll need to tap the three dots next to a person's name to move the conversation to the Messenger app before you can make a call.

This is the latest in a series of moves aimed at gaining a stronger presence in people’s smartphones, including the launch of a new home screen for Android as well as a new chat client called Chat Heads that lets you keep a Facebook conversation going with chats overlaid on top of whatever screen or app you are at any particular time -- the feature isn’t as pervasive in iOS, however, where it’s limited to the Messenger client.

It's worth noting that Facebook has offered voice and video calling on its site since 2011 through a tie-up with Skype, but the new VoIP feature on mobiles isn’t built on that partnership.




User Comments: 9

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MilwaukeeMike said:

Who are they kidding... everyone who'e glued to facebook doesn't actually speak with their friends anymore.

Guest said:

Probaly recording, saving and selling conversations.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Let's not forget the ads, but if your on Chrome use BLOCKER plugin. There is 3 line of code to get ride of the frame to the right side in FB on Chrome. This only works in Chrome. On Android device you use Adfree but the tablet or smarphone needs to be rooted.

1 person liked this | Ravik Ravik said:

"In your recent phone conversation you mentioned 'Adam West'...would you like to send him a personalized friend invitation?" - YES / NO

tonylukac said:

I don't see why this is useful because on smartphones many or most people have unlimited talk and limited data. Tmobile for one has unlimited talk and only 500M data at full speed for $50. Does anyone know of any unlimited data plans, or even those sold seperately?

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

I don't see why this is useful because on smartphones many or most people have unlimited talk and limited data. Tmobile for one has unlimited talk and only 500M data at full speed for $50. Does anyone know of any unlimited data plans, or even those sold seperately?

If I recall correctly, Virgin Mobile has a $50 plan that is unlimited talk, text, and data.

treetops treetops said:

To bad you can't just buy unlimitted data on a phone and hook yourself up with talk\text apps.

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

No thanks. I don't want Facebook data mining my phone calls too.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Wow what a revolutionary new feature. So Apple-like.

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