Facebook apps on iPhones are pictured as Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iOS Software at Apple Inc.(not pictured) discusses deeper integration of the social media site in iOS6 during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2012 in San Francisco, California June 11, 2012. (Photo : Reuters)
If you have an iPhone, love Facebook, and love talking to friends a lot, good news: Facebook's iPhone app now lets you call friends for free over the internet.
Earlier this week, when Facebook made an announcement introducing Graph Search, their new search engine. This disappointed some, who were expecting a Facebook phone, which tech junkies have been wanting for years.
But a quieter move by Facebook recently effectively makes any iPhone with the Facebook Messenger app a Facebook phone. Starting this year in Canada according to Tech Crunch, Facebook has been testing a feature of their iPhone Facebook Messenger app that allows voice calling over the internet (or VoIP, like what Skype does) between Facebook friends.
While other apps and services like Skype and Google voice do the same thing, none of them have the networking capability of the largest social network on the planet. What does this mean for you? Well, nothing, if you don't have an iPhone, because Facebook's voice calling is only available on iOS for now.
But if you do have an iPhone and you talk to friends so much that you often go over your allotted voice minutes, this could be big. With the Facebook iPhone app and a Wifi connection, you can now talk as long as you like for free, provided your friends are on Facebook, too (but really, who isn't?). And if you aren't in a Wifi hotspot, your Facebook voice call will run off of your data plan, not your minutes.
In a way, this makes any iPhone a Facebook phone. It'll be interesting to see how popular this feature gets, because it might be a big step in the evolution of the smartphone away from being a "phone" and towards simply being a mobile internet device that does everything you might want.