With the number of remote teams being on the rise, it’s no wonder that video calling apps are becoming more popular. This is because we need to keep the ball rolling despite the pandemic and effective communication is important in achieving this goal. In addition, we love to see each other’s faces, don’t we?
The Zoom video conferencing tool has recently gained a lot of popularity. However, it is not perfect. It has its downsides just like every technology out there. Facebook has decided to give the Zoom team a run for their money by creating an impressive alternative. Whereas Zoom caters to the needs of a business team by accommodating large video calls, Facebook Messenger Rooms is designed for the purpose of socializing.
What Is the Facebook Messenger Rooms Feature?
One of the downsides of the Zoom app is that there is a time limit to how long your call can be. While you can extend this limit by paying, some users cannot afford to make such payments. Facebook Messenger Rooms solved this problem by making it possible to hold video calls for as long as you want for free, and you can invite as many as 50 people per call session.
The Messenger Rooms feature provides virtual rooms to hang out with friends and acquaintances. A room has an easy-to-use interface, and it is easy for people to drop in and out as long as the room is open. You can create a Messenger room from the Facebook site itself or the Messenger app.
Is the Facebook Messenger Rooms feature useful? Considering that you can invite people who aren’t even Facebook users, you can see that it is quite useful. The feature gives you the option of inviting both Facebook and non-Facebook users to join your video call. If you are a non-Facebook user, all you have to do to join a meeting is to provide a display name. This means you do not have to worry about Facebook collecting your data.
Privacy and Video Calls
When it comes to video calls, we expect our privacy to be protected. Zoom is not so great when it comes to security. It provides you with Call Meeting IDs that are easy to guess. This means that after creating a meeting, strangers can join your video call without being invited. All they have to do is guess the call ID of the video chat. Zoom has responded to this by adding password protection, which means that users have to know the corresponding password before they can join your meeting. In addition to this, Zoom added virtual waiting rooms where any caller attempting to join your meeting will be placed pending your approval. While this has helped, it has also added extra hoops for people to jump through, thereby making the whole process extra tedious.
On the contrary, Facebook has kept its app pretty simple. While it’s true that Facebook has its fair share of security concerns, such as multiple data breaches, it has succeeded in creating simplicity, which we find very useful. For example, you can create a room and invite Facebook friends, a specific group, specific persons only, or even non-Facebook users. You can also lock your room to prevent additional persons from joining once you have everyone you need for the call. This offers an added level of security and privacy. You can always unlock it whenever you wish. An additional feature that helps maintain security is the option to use invite links made up of random characters. This makes it impossible for anyone to guess them. It prevents strangers from joining your meeting uninvited.
While engaging in a video chat, you might want to share media files with other users in the room. Facebook Messenger Rooms allows you to do this. However, there’s a limit to the file size that you’re allowed to share. This can be a problem if you want to share large files.
You can utilize a cloud-based tool while using Messenger Rooms. There is a great way to share huge files without leaving your video conference call. Enter FileWhopper, a cloud-based data transfer tool that allows you to share files and folders of any size. You can upload any amount of data and share the download link with other users in the room. This way, they can download your large file or folder while the video chat is ongoing.
The best part is that you don’t need to pay any monthly subscription fees and you don’t need to compress your data before sharing it. Just upload your file or folder and share the download link through Messenger Rooms or any other communication tool. By default, your transfer includes one recipient, but you can add extra recipients if need be.
Encryption is one area where most video chat apps are lacking. While a lot of them do offer basic encryption and protection, only a few of them protect your data with end-to-end encryption. End-to-end encryption prevents any unauthorized party from seeing your data or intercepting it (including the company that is hosting your video call). Even if they manage to intercept it, they will be unable to use the data because it is encrypted.
It is worth mentioning that although Facebook Messenger Rooms does not support end-to-end encryption, Facebook says it’s actively working to get this fixed.
If you are interested in having access to end-to-end encryption, your choices are limited. For example, FaceTime by Apple offers end-to-end encryption on video calls for up to 32 users. However, to enjoy this, you have to own an Apple device. Also, Facebook’s WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption, but you can only video chat with 8 users.
This might make Messenger Rooms seem less attractive if you are really security conscious. However, if you look beyond this, it offers enough security for casual virtual hangouts. Besides, Facebook is already working on adding extra security to the tool.
The Facebook Messenger Rooms feature offers the following benefits:
- It is easy to use and convenient.
- It has a simple user interface.
- You get to enjoy free unlimited video calls.
- You can invite up to 50 people per video chat.
- The tool allows non-Facebook users to join video calls.
- There is a room lock feature for privacy.
- You can share files while on a video call.
How to Set Up a Facebook Messenger Rooms Video Call
The Messenger Rooms feature offers convenience. It is easy to create a room and invite people with just a few clicks. Also, don’t forget about the lock feature, which allows you to keep out anyone you don’t want in your room. In addition to this, you don’t need to download any software to use the tool, although having the Messenger app will offer you extra features, such as AR effects like immersive backgrounds and filters. You can easily set up and join a video call through the Facebook website (on your browser) or the Messenger app. Either way is convenient; however, they require different methods. Let’s take a look at the two methods:
Method 1: Set Up a Messenger Rooms Video Call on the Facebook Website
- Go to the Rooms box located at the top of your Facebook News Feed.
- Click on Create. From the next menu, choose “Who is invited?” Then you can invite everyone on your friends list or just specific friends. However, if you want to invite other people, click on “Skip”. This will take you to a new page from where you can create a link for inviting others. To invite a group, go to the Groups page and create a room from there.
- Choose the activity you want for your room, or you can leave it at the default “Your Name’s Room.” You can also choose from preset activities (such as “Game Night,” “Happy hour,” “Hanging out,” “Bored at home,” and “Dinner”), or you can create your own activity.
- The next step is to set a start time for your video call. If you want the call to commence immediately, you can set the start time to “Now.”
- Select “Create Room” and “Join your room”.
- At this point, you can invite more people by clicking on the People icon, or you can select “Lock Room” to prevent more people from joining.
Method 2: Set Up a Messenger Rooms Video Call on the Messenger App
- Go to the lower right corner and tap on People.
- Then tap on “Create a Room”.
- From there, select “Share Link”. This will give you a link that you can send to anyone that you want to invite. They can then click the link to join the call.
- When people join, you can invite more people by tapping on the People icon. You can also use the “Lock Room” feature to prevent anyone else from joining the video chat.
Other Video Chat Apps You Should Know
Besides Messenger Rooms and Zoom, there are lots of other video chat apps that you can use. Here are some of them:
- Skype - You can make calls with up to 50 participants and a maximum duration of 4 hours per call. It provides you with up to 100 hours of video calls each month. All you have to do is register a Microsoft account and then download the Skype app. You can use Skype on your PC and mobile devices.
- FaceTime – This app is only for users who own an Apple device. You can make video calls with up to 32 participants. There are no time limits per call. However, you need to have an iCloud account to be able to use this app on your Apple device. This tool also offers end-to-end encryption.
- Houseparty – With this tool, you can enjoy no time limits and have video chats with up to 8 callers. The app is meant to serve as a virtual house party app. It offers party games that you can launch from the chat. You need to download the Houseparty app and register an account to use this tool.
- Google Meet – It is a business-focused tool that you can use to hold a video conference call with up to 100 people with no time limits. It is available as an iOS app and as an Android app. You can also access it through your web browser. However, you need to have a Google account to use it.
- Google Hangouts - This is another video chat app from Google. It allows you to video call up to 10 people with no time limits. You also need to have a Google account to be able to use it. It’s available on iOS and Android as an app. You can also use it through your browser.
- WhatsApp - This is another chat tool owned by Facebook. It allows you to video chat with up to 8 users with no time limits. You’ll need to install the app on your smartphone and register a WhatsApp account. After that, you can also use it on your computer.
Messenger Rooms is a convenient, user-friendly, and easy-to-use video conference tool. If you are okay with the basic data protection that it provides, you will find the tool extremely useful.