Facebook is testing Rooms feature in Messenger that will let you chat with strangers


21 Jun 2013
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Facebook is going all retro. After recently adding end-to-end encryption and ‘Secret Conversation,’ Facebook is now testing a new feature for its Messenger app. Called ‘Rooms,’ it is a bulletin board-style feature allowing users to participate in public conversations that are focused on delicate topics. Back in 2014, Facebook had launched a standalone ‘Rooms’ app for iOS users. The app allowed users to share text, videos and photos with friends, something that might not fit in the News Feed. However, it didn’t get the required traction.
The new Messenger Rooms feature aims to fill in those missing links from the previous experimental app. This time around, Facebook is trying to introduce the feature within the existing app, rather than going with a standalone one. The feature is currently rolling out to Android users in Canada and Australia, but there is no word on global roll out yet. Messenger already gives users the ability to create groups and talk about different topics. However, these conversations are private between friends. The new ‘Rooms’ feature will change this by encouraging users to engage in public conversations on a variety of topics. Speaking to Australian publication Courier Mail, Facebook Messenger’s Product Manager Drew Moxon said, “Group chats today are focused on people you know — friends and family — and what we’ve found by talking to users is there’s a lot of need for conversations about specific topics. This will be for topic-based conversations and so people can talk with others they may not know.”

Moxon further added saying that Facebook was “trying a lot of things” to meet demands of real-time messaging users. Facebook keeping the ‘Rooms’ feature within the Messenger app could mean that it could easily be expanded to other regions going forward.

Users can discuss a range of topics in the Messenger Rooms – be it Formula One, Football, election, movies, a music concert, or even an Apple Keynote event. Each room will have a link that users can share, allowing anyone with Messenger to join the conversation. There will also be an option to make a Room private, but the members will have to be formally approved by the administrator.

Individuals will also be able to create their own Rooms using the Facebook Messenger app, invite and approve new members, configure notifications, set nickname for themselves and more. Users can also search for rooms based on a given topic. For instance, a football fan could search for related group by searching for Liverpool, Barcelona, Manchester United, Liverpool India, and so on.

Facebook looks busy trialing some Messaging experiments in recent weeks, with a lot of them challenging Snapchat. This includes a new Messenger Day app with Snapchat Stories like feature. There is also another app under testing called Flash , which is a Snapchat clone for emerging markets. Meanwhile, Facebook-owned Instagram has also rolled out its own version of Stories, whereas WhatsApp also has a similar
feature under testing called Status.

Facebook is testing new ‘Rooms’ feature in Messenger that will let you chat with strangers
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