Facebookā€™s relentless push to make Messenger happen is still happening, and you can now make video calls over data and Wifi with with Facebookā€™s messaging app.

Messengerā€™s new video feature debuted today in the US, UK, Canada, and a variety of other countries. If you see a little video icon in the top right corner of your screen, youā€™ve got it. So if youā€™re talking to a friend and realize that you want to see their face and not another Pusheen sticker, the feature lets you call them up on the spot.

You can quickly start a video call from any conversation with just one tap. If youā€™re messaging with someone and realize that words just arenā€™t enough, you can simply choose the video icon in the top right corner of the screen and start a video call right from within an existing Messenger conversation.


Phone calls will start with the front-facing camera turned on, but you can switch it to show whoever youā€™re talking to whatā€™s going on around you.

For those of us who fear spontaneous face-to-face contact, this is kind of horrifying. But Facebookā€™s betting on an audience. This is another bid to push Messenger as its own communication platform, and itā€™s a big one, putting Facebook in direct competition with popular VoIP services like Skype, Google Hangouts, and Appleā€™s FaceTime.

The big advantage Messenger has here is a built-in contact list; thereā€™s no need to go through the process of finding someoneā€™s user info if theyā€™re already your Facebook friend. That built-in contact list is also what Facebookā€™s counting on to compete with Venmo when it comes to sending money to friends.


Then again, that built-in contact list could be a liability. Just because I accept someoneā€™s Facebook friend request doesnā€™t mean I want to talk to them on the phone. By allowing people to call up their Facebook friends (who, come on, are often just acquaintances), this feature could create a whole new genre of social media awkwardness: The dodged Messenger call. [Facebook]