Facebook is testing adding voice and video calls to the Facebook main app, Bloomberg reports. The features are currently part of the standalone Messenger app, which Facebook originally spun out of its big blue main app in 2011 and was officially removed in 2014.
Voice and video calling are two of several Messenger features that Facebook has introduced in its other products such as Portal camcorders and Oculus virtual reality headsets. The company has not shared whether it plans to bring other parts of Messenger back on board, but Messenger’s director of product management said it Bloomberg that “you are going to start seeing a lot more of this over time.”
Facebook confirmed to The Verge that it tests voice and video calls in “several countries, including the United States.” The company did not share how many users will see the features or what this means for the standalone Messenger app in the future, except “for a full messaging, audio and video calling experience, people should continue to use Messenger.”
Adding voice and video calls to the Facebook app makes about as much sense as spinning Messenger in the first place. Yes, that means there is less app to switch between while doing other things on your computer or phone, but it also means you have to interact with (or at least see) Facebook on the go – something I’m not sure everyone is interested in doing.
There is also a risk that weaving Messenger to Facebook draws the same kind of criticism as uniting Messenger and Instagram instant messaging. It seems that it makes a giant company like Facebook even harder to break up – which may be the point.
This is not the first suggestion that Facebook is considering getting Messenger back to Facebook either. In 2019, the company tested bringing text chats back to the main app with a dedicated inbox and splashed “from Facebook” over Oculus, Instagram and WhatsApp.