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Facebook Launches New “Rooms” Video Feature

By José Escobedo | Mon, 04/27/2020 - 18:56

Facebook has plans to become even more user friendly, especially as users are confined to their home longing to spend time with their friends and family. Today, the company announced a new feature on its platform called Rooms. The mechanism adopts video chat innovations like Zoom’s gallery view for large groups and Houseparty’s hangouts.

Rooms is available both on mobile and desktop. According to TechCrunch, the user can start a video chat room that friends can discover via a new section above the news feed or through notifications Facebook will automatically send to the user’s closest friends. The user can invite specific friends and share a link to invite people to the room, as well.

The feature allows only 8 people to chat, but the company has plans to accommodate up to 50 people in the short term. Facebook representatives believe this feature will be more attractive than Zoom, especially for larger crowds and reunions. Rooms will also be available on Instagram, WhatsApp and Portal.

“People just want to spend more time together,” Facebook’s Head of Messenger Stan Chudnovsky said to TechCrunch. One-on-one and group video calling was already taking off, but with COVID-19, “the whole thing is exploding. We already had a plan to do a bunch of stuff here so people could hang out on video any time they want, but we accelerated our plans,” said Chudnovsky.

Currently, the company is planning to improve and to expand its video features. Besides launching Rooms, Facebook wants to take the initiative to revamp its video-related features and improve user communications. TechCrunch reports Messenger and WhatsApp now see 700 million people using audio and video calls each day, while Facebook and Instagram Live videos now reach 800 million people per day. TechCrunch reports that Facebook already owns the many-to-one feeds and has emerged as a leader in one-to-many livestreaming, but “the middle piece needed way more investment,” Chudnovsky said.

An interesting perk is that Facebook will launch virtual and 360° backgrounds with mood lighting. This means the user will choose a virtual background to cover whatever is behind them during a video call. The 360° backgrounds can change as the user moves around the room. It also includes mood lighting to favor the user while on camera.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
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José Escobedo José Escobedo Senior Editorial Manager