Facebook is expanding its screen-sharing options in Messenger to both Messenger Rooms and the mobile app, providing another way to engage within Messenger video calls.
As you can see in the above sequence, now, when you’re in a Messenger video call, you’ll have the capacity to drag the bottom function panel up in order to view more options for your call. There, you’ll see a new option to ‘Share your screen’. Tap on that and you’ll begin casting your device screen to all the other people in the video chat.
As explained by Messenger:
“Screen sharing allows people to instantly share their screen with friends and family one-on-one or in a group video call with up to eight people, and up to 16 people in Rooms, while using Messenger on their mobile devices. We know people are trying to stay connected more than ever, and screen sharing is the latest feature we’re rolling out to bring people closer together.”
Facebook added screen-sharing in the Messenger desktop and web apps earlier in the year, as part of the revamp of the desktop app, catering to the rise in interest in desktop calls amid the COVID-19 lockdowns. Now users will also be able to utilize the same on mobile, which adds a range of new collaboration and sharing opportunities.
“Whether you want to share memories from your camera roll, shop together online, co-browse social media, and more – screen sharing makes it easy to stay connected and close with your loved ones, even when you’re physically apart.”
Reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong spotted the screen sharing option in testing in April last year, so it’s been in development for some time.
And it will likely prove popular – back in April, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that more than 700 million people were conducting video calls in Facebook’s apps every day, with demand for video chats more than doubling amid the global lockdowns. In addition to this, the use of group video chats had also risen by 10x, as people sought alternative ways to stay connected while physically separated.
With the lockdowns coming back into effect in many regions, and likely set to remain, in some form, for some time yet, providing more ways for people to connect is a logical step, and the capacity to quickly switch to screen-sharing during a chat will make it easier to add context and engage via the app.
For business users, it could also provide a new way to facilitate customer service walk-through and increased transparency. There are obviously limits to such, as you may not want to share everything on your screen, but it could provide another way to quickly illustrate a point, or provide guidance – or even just connect with customers and vendors face-to-face, even if only in digital form.
Not everyone will want to do this, so you need to exercise a level of caution. But it could be another option to consider in your process.
In the case of Messenger Rooms, screen-sharing will enable users to make their screen viewable to up to 16 people at a time, while Facebook’s also looking to add new controls over who can share their screen within each Room.
There’s a range of ways in which the functionality could be used – and as noted, with so many people now turning to video chats to stay connected, it’ll no doubt be a popular, helpful addition.
Screen-sharing is now available in the latest versions of Messenger’s Android and iOS apps, desktop app, and Web.