Facebook Messenger for iPhone: Watch Your Back, Skype

14 Comments

Imagine the convenience and reach of your Facebook friends list, combined with the VoIP goodness of Skype. That’s what a new iPhone app called Facebook Messenger aims to provide. It gives you access to Facebook chat on your iPhone, but also lets you call any of your online contacts for a VOIP chat.

Facebook Messenger ($2.99), created by Crisp App, works between iPhone and iPod touch devices, and between your iOS device and the web. Aside from providing a mighty tempting target for accusations of trademark infringement, the app lets users VoIP call online Facebook users on both mobile and web-based clients. On an iPhone or iPod touch (s aapl), they receive an incoming call screen with the option to accept or deny, or a push notification if the app isn’t open. On the web, your chat target will receive a link asking them to accept your call, which will transfer them to a web page for handling the call. The recipient can take part in the call so long as they have a computer with a microphone and speakers.

I tried out the app calling between iPhones and to the desktop. Both had roughly the same voice quality, which was quite good. The only issue was that both the other caller and I experienced significant delay between when we spoke, and when the other caller heard what we said. There was also an echo effect, so you could hear what you’d just said repeated faintly after you said it. Also, in both cases, the time between initiating a call and the call showing up on the other user’s device or machine was considerable. If you aren’t patient, you might think someone isn’t answering, when in fact they haven’t yet been notified of your call.

Why then, should Skype be concerned about Facebook Messenger? Because despite early hiccups, the concept behind the app is killer. Facebook is already probably the de facto way a lot of people communicate, with a much broader reach than Twitter, and it’s becoming even more of a communication hub thanks to its recent messaging system upgrade. If Facebook Messenger can beef up its architecture to provide a smoother, quicker VoIP experience, it could leverage Facebook’s network to leapfrog to the front of the competition, especially if it can somehow integrate video in future iterations. Unless, that is, Facebook decides this is too good an idea and decides to bake the feature into its site and app itself.

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14 Comments

Junam

I am sure a competitive environment will bring in productive changes in the services of Skype.

JeffreyGSweetMan

Sounds pretty interesting. I would be more interested if Apple created a messaging system like the blackberry. Then they would take over the world.

sumaila adamu

here is an application that I like with this APPP I can stay in touch with my friends and Thatcher with them, and more apps that costs only U.S. $ 2.99 thank you for the information

Karl Gustav

Well, I have purchased this app and I must say that it is a great easy-to-use tool that makes connecting via Facebook on your iPhobe simpler. It is definitely worth money and attention.

Braden

This is quite the incredible little application. I have never been in love with the newsfeed, pages, ads, pictures, and gaming (read mostly farming) of Facebook, even being in college when it first hit the scene. However, with their recent shake up of the messaging and chat ecosystem, the service has become incredibly valuable in my mind. With a simple application like this, its’ value continues to balloon. Here is to the developer being swallowed by the money printing machine (for now) that is fbook…if that’s what he or she wants.

Justin binder

Sounds cool especially since the quality of skype’s service has deteriorated so much recently. More competition is welcome.

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