The use of video calling services has exploded in recent months, as the coronavirus outbreak forces people around the world to work from home. And few have been more popular than Zoom, which has added tens of millions of users thanks to its ability to host large virtual gatherings and fun additions, such as customizable photo backgrounds.
That’s another feature Facebook is rolling out — the company said Messenger Rooms will feature AI-enabled virtual backgrounds. But Facebook’s backgrounds will span 360 degrees, which Zuckerberg boasted will take the experience to “the next level.”
Rooms can currently be accessed through the Messenger app or the main Facebook platform, but will soon be added to the company’s other platforms, including Instagram and WhatsApp. The service will be rolled out to some countries this week and expanded worldwide in the coming weeks.
Facebook is also expanding its existing video services, which have seen a huge spike in usage during the pandemic. More than 700 million people participate in video calls on its apps each day, and usage has more than doubled in many countries in recent months, Zuckerberg said.
The company will start by doubling the maximum number of people that can simultaneously join a video call on WhatsApp, its mobile messaging service, from four to eight. That update will be launched next week, Zuckerberg said.