APR. 30, 2020
Recently Mark Zuckerberg went live on Facebook to announce several changes to the company’s video features. He discussed the company’s three major video product categories: video calling, video rooms, and live video. Here are the products coming soon to Facebook’s family of apps.
AR Experiences on Messenger
Messenger, which will now be available for video calling in more than 70 countries and territories, has undergone several AI-based changes to make calls more enjoyable and effective. Instead of static backgrounds, you can set a 360-degree immersive virtual background that moves with you as you move. There are also new AR experiences surrounding activities and special occasions, like birthdays. You can set AI-powered mood lighting, too, to create a better atmosphere for your video call, whether you’re getting together with family or are going on a first date.
Moreover, there are a number of benefits to using the new Messenger app:
- If you only use Messenger on your phone, you can now make group calls on a larger screen, which is better for engaging with everyone you’re chatting with.
- The same Messenger features you’re used to will be available in the app, including Dark Mode and GIFs.
- You can connect with contacts via Messenger without needing to know their email addresses or phone numbers.
- You can get notifications for new messages, and you can also mute or snooze notifications to avoid interruptions.
The new Virtual Dates is a combination of Facebook Dating and Messenger. You can invite matches to a video chat where you’ll go on a virtual date. The chat is privacy-protected so that you can’t see each other’s last names. Also, to connect for a second time after the first meeting, you’ll have to accept a new invite – that way, you can’t get roped into a second virtual date with someone you’re not interested in.
WhatsApp has doubled the number of people who can participate in a group call from four to eight. The service is available around the globe and on all major mobile platforms, and it’s the only end-to-end encrypted audio and video calling service.
Video rooms, officially called Messenger Rooms, are different from video calling because you’ll set up the room ahead of time and then invite people to join using a link. Rooms are best for coordinating large group video calls, and anyone can join, even if they don’t have a login for any Facebook service. Rooms will be natively hosted in Messenger, but you can create and invite people to rooms in WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram, too.
Unlike a Zoom meeting where everyone is expected to show up at the designated time, Messenger Rooms are more casual. You can send out a link and let people know when the room will be open, but attendees can drop in and out whenever they want. After you create a room and invite who you’d like, users will be able to see a tray at the top of their News Feed that includes active rooms that they can join.
Rooms can be private, meaning they require a link to join, or they can be open to friends or people from a community. However, Facebook works behind the scenes to ensure that even more public rooms are open to only people you’re likely to want to connect with. They’ll select who to show the room to based on people you’ve interacted with or have shown interest in interacting with somewhat recently. That way, distant connections won’t be able to join the room.
For more privacy and security, you have the ability to kick someone out of a room or to lock a room to prevent more people from joining.
Facebook Live lets you broadcast what you’re doing in the moment and interact with viewers in real time. Live With, an Instagram feature that will now be launched with Facebook as part of Facebook Live, lets two people go live together even if they’re not in the same place.
Instagram Live will also now be available on your desktop instead of just in the mobile app. With more people staying home during the pandemic, desktop computers and larger screens are being used more than before.
Events that would normally be held in public and with crowds are now being held online. Messenger Rooms and Facebook Live can now be combined with Facebook Events to plan and hold online events. Smaller events may fare better in Messenger Rooms while larger events are ideal for Live. Hosts can charge a fee to attend the event, too. Charging a fee helps creators and small businesses, and viewers will be able to attend a quality event like a class, conference, or creative performance.
Video products let you feel connected to people even when you can’t be in the same room with them. From secure, encrypted use for businesses to AI-powered fun and dating, video calling has a broad range of uses. The technology may be the same, but the way people use it – and what they’re able to get out of it – is varied and personal.
By Lindsay Pietroluongo