With Messenger Rooms Facebook steps into the area of Zoom, Teams and Skype: Messenger Rooms are multiparty real time videoconferences using the web. Messenger Rooms allows the user to create a virtual meeting room directly from within Facebook or from Messenger. The user can invite anyone to join their video call, even if they don’t have a Facebook account. Messenger Rooms hold up to 50 people and there is no time limit. Messenger Room is a very new member of the big Facebook family of products, so it is expected that soon after its expected roll out in May it will be integrated in such a way that setting up a Messenger Room will also be possible from within Facebook’s News Feed, Groups or Events as well as from Instagram or Whatsap.
While Zoom, Skype and Teams seem to focus more on the desktop, Messenger Rooms seems to address the mobile user more. Unlike Zoom, Messenger Rooms does not require the download and installation of an application. Facebook has learned its lessons from the security and privacy issues that were raised recently. Messenger Rooms provide security settings such as locking the room after the meeting starts or removing unwanted participants. Facebook also keeps a fence between the personal data of the users and Messenger Rooms, that means that visitors don’t get immediate access to each other’s Facebook postings or profile unless they are already friends on Facebook, other participants are only identifiable by name. With the integration of what Facebook calls the AI/VR capabilities of Messenger (360 degrees and virtual background, but hey… also the rabbit ears 😊) Facebook seems to be taking another small step towards Zuckerberg’s vision of the AR/VR meeting room of the future. More details will follow in a next issue of Tools of the Trade when we hope to have tested Messenger Rooms. Messenger Rooms is expected to be rolled out in the coming weeks.