While the world is suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, one company, in particular, has seen positive growth. And that company is Zoom. It has become a household name in the past few weeks. It seems like almost everyone is using Zoom suddenly. According to a post on the Zoom blog, the number of daily meeting participants jumped from 10 million in December 2019 to 200 million daily participants in March 2020. That is a 2000% increase. The growth of Zoom is not without any controversies, though. There are have been several security issues discovered in the past month that has put Zoom on toes. Read this wonderful article on TomsGuide on everything wrong with Zoom. These security issues, however, couldn’t put a huge dent in Zoom users’ base.
The success of Zoom has inspired or rather forced many other platforms to create a platform similar to Zoom. We have seen many examples in the past. Skype, for example, launched a new service named Skype Meet earlier this month that allows people to join an online meeting without creating an account. We have seen many reports in the media that WhatsApp increasing its group video call limit from 4 to 8 participants. Similarly, Googe added many Zoom like features to its video calling service Google Duo. Now users can make a group video call with up to 12 participants on Google Duo.
Now Facebook also has launched a Zoom competitor to provide Zoom like video conferencing capabilities. Facebook is calling it the Messenger Rooms. It has borrowed many features from Zoom and made them better.
Facebook’s Messenger Rooms can hold up to 50 peoples. Creating room on Messenger Rooms is easy and can be done from the Messenger or Facebook. Facebook says it will soon bring the room features to Instagram Direct, WhatsApp, and Portal too.
One of the striking features of Messenger Rooms is that participants with no Facebook account can also join conferencing. The host can share the link, and people with the invitation link can join the meeting from their phone or computer – no need to download anything.
Those with the Messenger app can play with various AR effects that Facebook is bringing with the Messenger Rooms. There are also 360 AI-Powered immersive background and mood lighting available on the Messenger app.
Facebook adds many security and privacy features to the Messenger Rooms to make it secure and private. The person who creates the room gets to choose who can join, how easy a room is to find, and whether to enable the share link option.
There are also many other security features baked into the Messenger Rooms. The Locking option lets the admin lock or unlocks a room once the calls begin. That means no one can join the room if it is locked. The creator of the group can also remove participants from the call. Similarly, participants can also choose to leave a group call at any point in the meeting.
If you don’t want someone to bother you on Facebook or Messenger, you can block that person. Facebook says they won’t inform that person that you have blocked him/her. And when that person is on Facebook or Messenger, they won’t be allowed to join a room that you are in, and similarly, you won’t be able to join a room that person is in.
One interesting fact to know is that the Messenger Rooms is not protected by end-to-end encryption. “Rooms is not end-to-end encrypted. While there are significant challenges to providing end-to-end encryption for video calling with large groups of people, we’re actively working toward this for Messenger and Rooms,” company said in a blog post.
Facebook says the Messenger Rooms is rolling out in some countries this week, and it will be available in the rest of the world in the coming weeks.