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article imageFacebook adds video calls to Messenger Lite

By James Walker     Mar 7, 2018 in Technology
Facebook's slimmed-down Messenger Lite app is now a little less lite. The company has brought video calling to the app, enabling people with older devices or slow connections to use the feature. Facebook said video chats are "essential" to communication.
In a news post today, Facebook said over 17 billion video chats were made on Messenger last year. The figure has more than doubled since 2016. Until now, people using Messenger Lite haven't been able to engage as the service has only supported core components of the main Messenger platform.
To create a new video call, Messenger Lite users can tap the new video icon to the top-right of chats. Pressing the button will start a new video chat with the contact or group participants. Ongoing audio calls can also be "upgraded" to video without leaving the current call. A separate video icon at the bottom-right of the screen appears during voice calls.
Adding support for video chats means Messenger Lite now provides access to all the primary communication methods offered by Messenger. The app is aimed at people with limited network bandwidth or older devices who would find the main Messenger service sluggish or unreliable. It's also popular with a broader spectrum of users who want the Messenger experience distilled back to basics.
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Messenger Lite cuts out the bots, games and integrations of modern Messenger to focus on the essentials for a chat app. It's meant to be quick to load, responsive and dependable on slow Internet connections. With support for core features including text messages, photo sharing, voice calls and now video calls, it offers just the most-used capabilities of Messenger's sprawling primary feature list.
Facebook said it's adding video chat to Messenger Lite because consumers want and expect the feature to be present in the app. While it does mean the app just got a little less "lite," it also makes it more useful for people who depend on it. Facebook said the app still weighs in at under 10MB for fast installation and loading.
"Video chats are an expected and essential part of everyday communication in today’s messaging experience," said Facebook. "Chatting face-to-face live is perfect for those moments when you want to see and hear the voices of people you care about most – whether you’re wishing someone a happy birthday, you have some great news to share, or you spontaneously want to catch up on the day."
The updated app is available from today from the Google Play Store, although it may take a while to reach every user. Messenger Lite is currently offered in over 100 countries around the world but is yet to make the jump over to iOS.
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