The COVID-19 Pandemic has immensely changed our lifestyles in every possible aspect. People are strongly encouraged to stay at home to avoid the spread of the virus, and as we’re practicing social distancing, we need digital solutions to stay connected. Leading Social Media Platform, Facebook, will introduce very soon a new feature called Messenger Rooms that will help families, friends, and communities stay connected, businesses to conduct video conferences, and students to learn online from their teachers.
We had an exclusive interview with Facebook’s EMEA Communications Manager, Alexandru Voica, to discuss their new video conferencing service, and here’s how it went.
What’s the difference between Messenger Rooms and other video conferencing services?
There are several differences between Messenger Rooms and other video conferencing services; firstly, people are already very familiar with Messenger, and it’s easy to create a Room within different surfaces in the Facebook app, like a Room within a Facebook Group or a Facebook Event. The feature will allow up to 50 people to use the Room, without any time limits like most of the other services. You can also use AR technology to create different filters and 3D backgrounds while chatting with others in the Room. The service will also soon be rolled out to WhatsApp and Instagram as well.
When is the feature expected to roll out in the MENA Region?
“Messenger Rooms”is already being tested in several countries and will be rolled out in the Middle East and the rest of the world in a matter of few weeks.
How can users decide who to join?
The creator of the room can customize the privacy settings of the room, whether they want it to be open for anyone (even if they don’t have a Facebook account), or limit it to Facebook users, or even make it a private room and get to invite people to the room manually.
Will the new feature still be relevant when the whole lockdown thing is over?
We were already planning to introduce a video conferencing feature even before the COVID-19 pandemic, and we think Messenger Rooms is useful for people to connect and stay in touch regardless of distances. However, the pandemic made us feel the demand for the feature is higher right now. And even after the current crisis is over, people will need time to return to their normal lives, and through that phase, the feature will be very useful for everyone to stay connected with their family, friends, and colleagues.
What are the plans that will follow the release of the new feature?
Firstly, it’ll be to roll it out to WhatsApp, Instagram, and Portal. Then we’ll integrate more AR features into the new service to make it more useful and fun for people. And we’ll begin introducing AI-powered features that will make the experience smoother and better for everyone.