It looks like Canada has another exclusive – at least for the time being – from one of the biggest companies on the planet.
Facebook has announced that it is using Canada as a test market for a new feature to allow free mobile calls from your Facebook account to mobile and landline phone numbers. The new feature is being rolled out on Canadian accounts over the next few weeks, and will only be available via the Messenger app (iTunes link) for iOS devices at this time.
The service is exactly what it sounds like: VoiP phone calls which use data instead of minutes on your mobile plan. Of course, on WiFi, you wouldn’t end up chewing through any of your data, but in some areas where you have no voice reception but some data can still get through, this could be a great thing.
Using iOS devices means the service might also make it possible to do voice calls via iPad, something that is only currently possible with other solutions like Skype or Google Talk. Like Xbox LIVE, the service also lets users send short voice clips and attach them to Facebook messages to send someone a voicemail-like note without typing anything out.
The user interface we’ve seen is quite simple and beautiful, opting for some imitation-soundwaves right inline with other messages. It is good to see that it appears that these messages are also sent as standard bits of code, so they work in every message scenario like group chats.
We haven’t been put on the list of testers yet, so we couldn’t evaluate the service as of this writing, but we’ll be sure to report back when we’ve made a few calls of our own.