Facebook adds free calling for Android Messenger app users

Facebook this week added free voice calling for some U.S. Android users on its Messenger app.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Facebook has begun expanding the free voice calling feature on its Messenger app to Android users.

Earlier this year, the company introduced free voice calling for iPhone users, letting them use the Messenger app to call other Facebook members. The app uses smartphones’ Internet connections to make the call, either through a Wi-Fi network or over 3G or 4G networks.

Now, three months after introducing the feature for iPhone users, Facebook started rolling it out to some U.S. Android users Thursday afternoon and says more users will get the feature throughout Friday. They don’t need to update the Messenger app to use the free voice calling feature.


Once users get the feature, they can access it by tapping the circled “i” icon from within a conversation. After that, they can tap the “Free Call” button and the app will attempt to call the friend they are chatting with.

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A colleague and I tested the feature on the iPhone earlier this year, and we thought the call quality was poor -- the caller’s voice sounded fuzzy and tinny. I’m not sure what the quality of the calls sounds like on the Android app, but at the very least, Facebook’s free voice calling feature could be helpful if you’re trying to save on your voice minutes.

Recently, Facebook has been beefing up its messaging service in both its main app and its Messenger app. Along with voice calling, the company has also added voice messages and stickers -- which are big emoticons.

Facebook also introduced a feature called Chat Heads earlier this month for both its iPhone Facebook app and for Android on its Facebook Home interface. That feature lets users chat with their friends while they go through the app. If a friend sends a message, users can simply tap on their floating head and the conversation will expand. When they want to get back to surfing Facebook, the user simply taps on their friend’s head again and the conversation minimizes.


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