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Facebook Tests a Phone Service

Facebook’s Messenger app now lets smartphone users send voice notes and phone friends.
January 3, 2013

Facebook may not have its own handset, but now any phone can be a Facebook phone. An update to the social network’s Messenger app for iOS and Android introduces voice messages and even calls. It could be the social networking company testing out the mobile voice market in advance of bigger plans.

The update, rolled out Thursday, adds the option to record and send a voice message up to a minute in length as an alternative to typing a note to a friend. The iOS version of the app also states in its description that Facebook Messenger users will be able to make free calls to friends using their data plans (AKA VoIP) in the coming weeks. Apparently people in Canada will get this feature first.

I don’t expect anyone to take this as a sign that it’s time to give up your mobile voice plan. But this update–along with the recently released Poke app (see “Facebook’s Poke App Lets You Send Vanishing Messages”)–is the latest sign of Facebook’s grand ambitions to be your go-to source for all types of social interactions, no matter if you’re using a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. I’m betting there’s a lot more of that to come this year.

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