Facebook is adding an ‘instant video’ feature to Messenger, which allows you to view and share a video feeds with your friends while you chat.
But wait, Facebook already has video chat, right? The difference with Instant Video is that you can actually send text messages as you video call; it’s meant for shorter bursts of conversations rather than full-fledged video calls.
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As Facebook puts it:
Sometimes you just want to ask a friend’s opinion on a pair of shoes you want to buy, weigh in on what ice cream flavor they should bring home, or see their reaction to your witty message, when you’re in a place where you can’t talk live (like a meeting – don’t tell anyone!) 😉 Instant Video allows you to share regular parts of everyday life with the people you care about most.
When both you and your friend have a conversation Window open, the video button in the navigation bar will begin to pulse – very much akin to the video calls originally introduced on Snapchat. Tap on it to start a video stream and share whatever you’re doing in real time.
Meanwhile, your friend can choose to either just watch or join in with their own stream. The video will pop up in a small movable window as you chat instead of a full-screen interface.
Facebook hopes Instant Video will make video calls “as easy as sending a sticker or emoji.” That’s a good plan; I typically don’t video call anyone unless it’s pre-arranged. It’s certainly an alternate take on instant video compared to Google’s new Duo app.