Facebook (News - Alert) has been expanding its messaging service slowly for a while now. The transitions started with the release of the standalone Facebook Messenger app, which offers users direct access to Facebook's chat features on mobile devices and PCs. However, the exciting part came when the company began introducing voice capability into its messaging earlier this year.
It started in January with the introduction of VoIP calling for iOS users in Canada when Facebook added the ability to send short voice clips for all Android (News - Alert) and iOS users. Later, full VoIP capabilities were introduced in the U.S. Now, Facebook is expanding its VoIP capabilities into a third country: the U.K.
The capability was first introduced to iOS users in the UK, but an update to the Android Facebook Messenger app later brought the feature to Google's mobile platform. It's been pointed out before that Facebook Messenger's VoIP capability is not in any way built on Facebook's Skype (News - Alert) partnership, instead relying on open source technology, and this continues to be the case here.
Just like in Canada and the U.S., Facebook Messenger users in the U.K. can access the new Free Call option by tapping the "i" button on an individual's profile, then pressing the Free Call button. Calls can be placed over Wi-Fi or using a mobile data connection, with the only restriction being that the recipient must also have Facebook Messenger installed on their device.
If they do, they will receive a push notification that allows them to see who is calling with options to accept or reject the call. Currently, though, the service isn't 100 percent as some have reported that placing calls to certain users results in an "unable to make call" error message. While this is likely to raise some ire, considering the service is both new and free, there isn't much reason to complain.
Edited by Ashley Caputo