Much like Google, Facebook runs a lot of tests on its products, trying to gauge whether new things are a good idea. It tested a material update to Messenger, the Reactions button and Messenger SMS (which is still ongoing), multiple Messenger accounts, and probably more besides. Now it's got a new one for Messenger as well: a call tab.
You probably already know that users can make both video and voice calls through Messenger; there's even an app for it, although it hasn't been updated since August 2015. Before the material update, the option to place a VoIP call was on the lower action bar, alongside the one to search or start a new message. However, it has now been moved to the second tab, which gives it a more prominent position. In doing so, Facebook is probably hoping users will make more calls using Messenger, instead of their carriers' minutes. It's obvious the Messenger team is still testing this, though, because 'Make Call' is still an option under the Floating Action Button in the bottom left. If you switch to the 'Call' tab, the 'Write Message' option is removed and 'Make Call' is the most prominent one. So still some way to go, it seems.
Left: The message list on Messenger. Right: The 'Call' list, showing most recent calls.
The call list functions in much of the same way as the message list does, or any call log: it shows you your most recent calls, ordered chronologically. As you can see, I don't make many calls using Facebook. You have the option of either video calling someone or voice calling them. If a call is long-tapped, it shows options including 'Delete from recent calls,' voice and video options, and 'Send message.'
So, all in all, pretty standard stuff, but just another thing Facebook tests. If we get reports of this rolling out widely, we'll be sure to let you know.
- Cusai and Benedek