Facebook takes on Skype with group calls from the desktop

In its ongoing mission to do everything every other app can do, Facebook has given a select number of users the option to make group audio calls straight from its desktop site. Watch out, Skype and Hangouts.

You can see if you've got the feature yourself - just log into Facebook on the web, open up a group chat window, and you might see a phone call icon and a notification that the new functionality is now available to you.

The same group calling option was added to the mobile version of Messenger in April, so now those of us using old-fashioned computers rather than phones can get involved too. There's no word yet on when the feature might make it to everyone's account, but there seems no reason why Facebook would take its time pushing it out.

Extra ad blocking

Of course the advantage Facebook has is that pretty much everyone's already on the network - although people are perhaps less likely to have office colleagues added as friends, and this is a feature with uses for both work and leisure.

Group audio calling isn't the only tweak Facebook's making to its site this weekend: it's also experimenting with new options for hiding adverts that bring up painful memories.

At the moment the trial is restricted to parenting products and alcohol-related ads but Facebook says it may expand it further in the future. While the social network has let users tweak ad settings for a while, this is the first time it's offered the option to pro-actively block certain topics that might be upsetting.

Via TechCrunch

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.