Facebook tests Bonfire group video chat as app and in Messenger

Facebook has been quietly testing a new standalone 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.

But upon hands-on testing, TechCrunch has learned Bonfire also lets users join chats straight from Messenger without downloading Bonfire itself. While the Bonfire app is currently only available in Denmark, users with it can invite people from all over the world to join their chats via Messenger.

This strategy could allow Facebook to create a home for Bonfire with dedicated access to launching a multi-screen group video chat, but also let Messenger’s 1.2 billion monthly users instantly join in. That might save it from the lackluster traction that led to the shut downs of other standalone Facebook apps like newsreader Paper, Snapchat alternative Slingshot, news alert app Notify, and video profile app Lifestage.