Facebook's new Messenger voice call feature, offering free VoIP over WiFi, is not powered by Skype's technology the company has confirmed, despite previous partnerships between the two. The new voice-calling Messenger app, which Facebook unveiled this week, does not rely on Skype's back-end technology, Skype told SlashGear today. Facebook expects to roll out the feature to iOS users in the US over the course of the next few days.
Exactly who is powering Facebook's new VoIP service is unclear, though Skype had been a reasonable guess. The two companies partnered back in 2011 to add video calling to Facebook chat conversations in the desktop browser; a new button triggered the calls, with no extra software to download or install.
Since then, Skype has been progressively building Facebook integration into its desktop apps, including simple Facebook to Facebook video calls initiated by clicking on the user's friend list, rather than requiring their Skype username. Now, however, the Microsoft-owned Skype is focusing more on pushing its own mobile apps, most recently releasing a version for Windows Phone.
For Facebook, VoIP service is another example of it filling in the key spots in the phone industry with its own products, as it attempts to strengthen its mobile strategy and, eventually, monetize those users who access the social network via phones and/or tablets.
Earlier this week, the company announced Facebook Graph Search, a context-powered search engine intended to give personalized results based on the activities and preferences of the users' friends. Under the hood, Facebook uses Microsoft's Bing search engine to power the new system.