Facebook announces Skype video calling, group chats

By on July 7, 2011, 9:00 AM

Facebook announced its answer to Google+ Hangouts Wednesday afternoon in the form of a video calling feature powered by Skype. The social network's new offering will allow users to call online contacts directly through the chat tab, without leaving the site or having to launch the Skype client, all the users need to do is install a small plugin.

For now the feature is limited to one-to-one video calls, unlike Hangouts, which allows up to ten people to connect simultaneously. But with 750 million worldwide members and marching towards the 1 billion milestone, Facebook has access to a much broader audience than Google could hope for -- at least in the foreseeable future.

A roadmap for new features and further Facebook-Skype integration hasn't been announced, so group video calling may be some time off. As usual, Facebook will be rolling out the new Skype video calling feature gradually over the next few weeks, though if you are feeling impatient to try it out you can get it now by going to facebook.com/videocalling.

The new feature also deepens the company's co-operation with Microsoft, which owns 1.6 percent of Facebook and is in the process of buying Skype for a whopping $8.5 billion to build up its web presence.

In addition to Video Calling, Facebook also announced an update to its Chat feature that allows for ad-hoc group messaging with a new design that makes it easier to find buddies you frequently communicate with and the ones that are online. Friends can be added from the active chat window, and if any of the chat participants aren't available at the moment, they will be given a summary of the chat log when it's over in the Messages section.




User Comments: 8

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Guest said:

how about a stable fb instead of all this new crap ?

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The news is a little late...

Anyway, funny how they announced something "awesome" was coming a week or so ago, and it turned out to be this. Hardly anything impressive.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

Sorry Facebook, but Google + is about to be the new best thing. From what i've heard, their social application is a major fb killer, mainly because it gives the user more control. Google may not be any better with the privacy issue, but the fact that they don't tell their users how to be more social is going win people over. You can actually choose who sees your posts and you won't have to worry about posting something on someone's wall and the rest of your fb friends seeing it in their news feed.

Nice try with this, though. At least you're going down fighting :P

Guest said:

Hmmmm

Facebook doesn't force anyone to do anything, Its a social network it was designed to work as intended, dont use it if you dont like it.

Google is the one that really should be worrying why would people switch? They are already on FB and same with their friends. Converting people will not be easy

Guest said:

I test Google+ and is far pleasant to use for me than FB. I don't know why, but I feel more free, more open, more clean... And Circles are very useful idea... It's very easy manage them. It seems to me as if Google+ is like FB+Twister+Useful Tools Integration. On the other hand, videochat was introduced in MySpace arround 2004... So no amazing idea. In addtion, Google+ allows 10 persons to share same VideoChat sesion, sharing Youtube videos and other things at same time. This is much more appealing & funny I think.

Guest said:

Well, FB has 750 million users.

Population of people not using it is about 6500 million users.

Out of those 750 million users, home many are duplicates (for the same user).

I will at least try G+, I will not try FB.

Guest said:

AHHH I feel so bad!!

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@Guest at 1225

Pretty much spot on, I think that likes of FB/Google are pushing us towards 'closed web' i.e. they are trying to lock users in their own offerings so I wouldn't be bothered with either. For me both are worse than being in a shit load and half.

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