Facebook plans to use Canada as a test subject for free phone calls

by Andrew Roach on January 4, 2013

We have pretty much come to terms with Facebook playing at least some sort of role in our daily lives as we use it to keep in touch with friends and family.

However, the social network has unveiled plans to get even further beneath our skin with the possibility of making calls from our smartphones to any of our friends with Canada taking the plunge first.

The service will be available through the recently launched Facebook Messenger app and allow someone to chat with friends just like they would normally on the phone except that the call is run through Facebook.

The system is designed to avoid using up someone’s minutes or credit as Messenger will use VOIP to make the call which runs off data from the Internet.

Facebook aren’t done there though as they also plan to launch a feature which will let users send audio messages to friends rather than typing messages in a conversation.

As Canada is going to be the first to get access to the new feature on Facebook Messenger, it’s going to be interesting to see whether the ability to make phone calls can help Facebook keep ahead of some of its rivals who have all looked to get a foothold in the media market.

With Microsoft merging Live Messenger into Skype and Google developing its Google+ social network, Facebook has been under pressure to try and maintain its status as the world’s leading social network.

This also follows a mixed year for Facebook who experienced both its ups and downs in 2012. The company had seemed to extend its influence on our digital lives even further by introducing the Messenger app and purchasing popular photo app Instagram. However, the company suffered poor sales of shares after the site went public and it also suffered a backlash from users over changes to both the interface and its privacy settings.

The new phone call system will initially be launched on the Apple version of Facebook Messenger which runs on any device that has the iOS 4.3 system and there hasn’t been any word on a launch for Android products.

As Facebook leans the spotlight in Canada’s direction, it will interesting to see whether the new phone calls feature will help cement the social network firmly in our daily lives or whether the world is starting to get over the Facebook boom.

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