Facebook started August by launching Instagram Stories, a direct shot and clone of Snapchat's beloved Stories feature. Now, the company is kicking off September with Messenger Instant Video, another Snapchat feature clone.
With the new instant video, users are able to launch impromptu video calls with their friends at the tap of a button so long as both users are viewing their Messenger conversation at the same time. It's a complete copy of the one-to-one video call feature Introduced by Snapchat back in 2014.
Messenger has had video calling since 2015, but that feature is a bit bulky and requires that the person you are calling accept the call, much like Apple's FaceTime and Google Duo, which was released last month. With the Facebook's Messenger Instant Video, the call begins instantly.
"It's perfect for sharing quick moments with friends who aren't right by your side or making your conversations richer by seeing each other face-to-face when you are messaging," Facebook said in a blog post on Thursday.
Another difference between the two features is that instant video calls begin with the audio turned off, putting the emphasis on the video. "Sometimes you want to ask a friend's opinion on a pair of shoes you want to buy, weigh in on what ice cream flavor they should bring home, or just want to see your BFF's reaction to your witty message when you're in a place where you can't actually talk live," the social networked added.
For Facebook, going after Snapchat has become a top priority.
The tech giant unsuccessfully attempted to buy Snapchat multiple times, and since then, the Los Angeles app has been on a rampage making social media fun again with features like stickers, augmented reality lenses and neat geofilters.
Already, Snapchat is on pace to surpass Twitter in U.S. users, and it's not too far behind Instagram. That's a threat Facebook cannot allow, and as such, the company has reacted boldly. Messenger Instant Video is the latest effort in squashing Snapchat's growth.
To use Messenger Instant Video, make sure you have the latest version of the app. Once you are in a conversation with a friend and both of you are looking at the chat window, simply tap the video icon in the top right corner to kick off the video conversation.