People who make video calls on Messenger or use the video conferencing tool Messenger Rooms will soon be able to watch videos with friends and family in real time.
According to a new press release, Messenger is adding a Watch Together feature, which allows users to share their reactions on Facebook Watch videos with their friends and family during video calls and via the Messenger Rooms group signal.
During a group video call (or Messenger Room hangout), each participant can select a clip from Facebook’s video directory – the shows and other content typically found on the “Watch” tab – and it will be played for everyone in the conversation. However, it does not support YouTube or videos from other streaming sites, so your viewing options will be somewhat limited (although Facebook says that they add some new content that coincides with the launch of the feature).
Olivia Grace, product manager for Facebook Messenger, said in an interview that she envisions some users turning to Watch Together for group training courses or cooking tutorials. Friends and family will be able to see the reactions of their loved ones in a video call when they watch a show or a video.
“We’re really trying to recreate the experience of sitting together on the couch,” she said, or when a friend nearby recommends a video over the phone.
To start a Watch Together session, people can start a Messenger video call or create a Messenger Room, and then swipe up to access the menu and select Watch Together. They can then choose from suggested videos or categories such as TV and movies, watched or uploaded. Videos can be viewed with up to eight people on video calls and up to 50 people in rooms.
Watch Together will be launched globally on iOS and Android in the coming weeks.