Facebook makes voice calling free in U.S. on Android via Messenger, Home
A month after Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) added free VoIP calling to the Canadian version of its over-the-top Messenger application for Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, the social networking giant is now extending the feature to Messenger users in the U.S., concurrently integrating voice services into its fledgling Home launcher.
Facebook Messenger now enables American consumers to call Android and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone users for free via Wi-Fi or cellular data connection. To initiate a call, users open a conversation with their Facebook friend, tap the "i" button in the top-right corner and click Free Call. Call recipients will receive a push notification indicating someone is attempting to reach them.
Users can also make calls via Facebook Home, the alternative Android homescreen introduced earlier this month. Facebook Home promises more immediate and efficient access to Android applications and social media updates and includes features like chat heads, which lets users message with friends while accessing other mobile apps. Users can now initiate voice calls from chat heads by clicking the three "more info" dots next to a contact's name, which moves the conversation to the Messenger app, then following the standard Messenger calling protocol.
Facebook launched Messenger in mid-2011 in an effort to steer users away from conventional operator SMS solutions. The company now offers VoIP calling across 24 international markets. Messenger for iPhone added VoIP support in January.
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