Was Facebook's Rooms Video Service "Inspired" by Zoom's Booming Success?

Published April 29th, 2020 - 03:00 GMT
Was Facebook's Rooms Video Service Inspired by Zoom's Booming Success?
Users questioned whether Facebook's latest service was triggered by Zoom's spiking success lately. (Twitter)

Facebook has just announced its latest instant communication service "Rooms" promising a high-quality video call up to 50 people per time.

The new service that is being tested in just a few countries so far with plans for a world-scale release in the coming weeks, comes at a time video calls are witnessing an unprecedented surge amid global lockdowns following the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Facebook's Rooms allows the use of Facebook accounts to start unlimited video calls with up to 50 people, which is twice the number offered by the most popular video calling service Zoom.

Due to its easy access using Facebook's account and password, the new chatting app is expected to serve up to 800 million active users of both Facebook and the company's owned Instagram app.

According to Facebook's announcement, Instagram users should expect to have Rooms services available soon.

Besides announcing Rooms, Facebook has announced expanding Whatsapp's video calling capacity to include up to 8 different devices at once, which is the maximum number allowed for Facebook's Messenger users as well.

Using its official Twitter account, Facebook added that its teams are exploring ways for Pages to charge for Live events that have been on the rise too. Additionally, the social media giant declared plans to add a virtual date feature for users of its dating service. 

Facebook's most recent release has been linked, by many people, to the unexpected spike in Zoom usage influenced by social distancing rules triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, the company explained that Rooms "has been in the making for several years", highlighting a 2014 trial of a video calling feature with the name Rooms.

Due to its unlimited call time and 50 user slots, Rooms has been hailed by many users, who expressed their excitement to try it as soon as it makes it to their regions. Some,  however,  expressed considerable concerns in light of Facebook's history of breaching privacy; suggesting that the new service "could eventually detect every object in every caller's surroundings and use it to make profit".

Trying to ensure a private chat experience, Facebook has equipped the new service with a lock/unlock option to help users control who can join their virtual "rooms." Other features such as block and report will also be available for every call.

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