29 June 2020
UPDATE (May 15th, 2020):
Facebook has expanded the availability of Messenger Rooms globally. It will be accessible via smartphones as well as desktop through the Facebook website. All the features and functionalities of the video chat service remain the same as explained in the original coverage.
Original (April 27th, 2020)
The global COVID-19 pandemic and stay at the home situation has made video calling as the most commonly used modes of communication, especially for conferences. Zoom has been a popular video chat platform but other players like Google Duo, Google Meet, and WhatsApp have also stepped up their game. Now, it is time for Facebook to join the club as well.
Facebook has announced Messenger Rooms video chat service to help users connect with their loved ones as well as colleagues. It is accessible via the Messenger application along with the main Facebook app. A user can get started by creating a room that can be named to represent its purpose. Other participants can then be invited to join the room and start group video calling. A room is capable of hosting up to 50 people which should be more than enough for most users.
The best part of the service is that anyone can join a room regardless of having a Facebook account or not. These rooms can be shared with others through News Feed, Groups, and Events which is for Facebook users. For users who do not have an account on the social media platform, they will be able to join a room using the link available with the creator.
A room can be joined through desktops and smartphones by simply following the shared link. One does not need to download and install anything new app. As one might expect, Facebook is also offering AR effects like applying bunny ears and virtual sunglasses to make video calls more fun. It is also working on expanding Rooms video calling to Instagram Direct, WhatsApp, and Portal devices.