Facebook launches group video chat app Bonfire

Image Apple App store

Image Apple App store

Originally rumored back in July, Facebook's ambitions for a dedicated group video chatting app now has taken the form of an app. Based on TNW's videos, it looks like Bonfire also includes Snapchat-style effect when users are having a group video chat. While Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp now both support video chatting and group video chatting, Facebook is not above duplication of functionality in order to gain users and squash potential competition as the proliferation of story and status based features across its many apps shows. The app was found by The Next Web in Danish Apple App Store.

TheNextWeb has confirmed that the app has been downloaded over 2000 times, and reportedly shows high levels of user retention in the Danish market - a key factor as to why it is being tested there. The app is now only available in Denmark and users can invite other people to join their Bonfire chats through the Messenger app.

There is also Facebook's own messaging service, Messenger, that added group video calling in December 2016.

"We are interested in how everyone uses technology and how we can build great experiences for them. We have nothing further to share at this time", said the Messenger spokesperson in an emailed statement. The app is seen as Facebook's attempt to copy Houseparty, another app that allows up to eight people have a single group video chat session.

The description on app store clearly explains it as "Group video chat". Bonfire group video chats can be reformatted from having every participant get equally-sized boxes to one where most of the screen is mostly showing the person speaking, according to TechCrunch. Of course, there are already platforms for group video chats. Having Bonfire work alongside Messenger should give it some exposure and traction when it launches more widely.

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