Facebook has been quietly testing a new group video chat app, called Bonfire, which allows up to eight friends to engage in conversation as well as use special effects, similar to those you’d find in apps like Instagram and Snapchat.
The app was spotted in the wild in Denmark’s iOS App Store by The Next Web. The report also notes that when they tried to invite other users to join them in chat, the recipients would receive notifications on Messenger and in Facebook, but were unable to participate.
By nature of its one-country launch, the indication is that this is clearly a test Facebook is performing, and one that seems to cater to the growing popularity of group video chat.
Recently, Skype updated its app to improve its group chat feature with fun features like emoticons, while a number of newcomers – like iMessage-based Fam – have entered the scene. The app also competes with Houseparty, Airtime, ooVoo, Marco Polo, and many others on group video, and, to some extent, the apps for co-watching videos, like Tumblr’s Cabana or YouTube’s Uptime.
However, unlike the other apps in this space, Facebook’s Bonfire seems to designed not only as a way to hang out with friends in a private space through face-to-face conversations, but also a way to feed content back to Facebook’s existing social networking apps, including Facebook itself, Instagram and Messenger. The App Store description today notes that you’re able to take pictures of your video chat and then share them.