Facebook Integrates Skype Video Chat, Group Chat

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Facebook announced Wednesday the integration of Skype video chats and the addition of group text chats into the social networking service. With Skype video chats, Facebook users can initiate video chats directly from their conversations with friends, while the group text chats are just what they sound like.

Facebook Video Chat Icons

The camera indicates video chat availability

“For those of us who have been working on this, it’s particularly exciting to bring video calling to over 750 million people,” said Facebook engineer Philip Su, blithely ignoring the fact all 750 million of those people already had access to Skype had they wanted it. “We’re making this available in over 70 different languages, so friends can stay in touch all over the world.”

Video calling will be enabled for everyone “over the next few weeks,” but the company is also allowing users to sign up for it now.

The company released this completely uninformative and unhelpful video below, though to be fair when easy-to-access video chat was brand new in the early part of the aughts, it would have been a fresh breeze breathing life into our staid and dreary Internet lives.

Facebook video chat promo video.

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9 Comments Leave Your Own

Mikuro

So….I take it you’re not impressed? raspberry

Looks like Facebook is already playing catch-up with Google+.

One thing I don’t understand is how Skype figures into this. In what way does this integrate with Skype?

Bryan Chaffin

Well, I wasn’t impressed with the tone of their “we just invented sliced bread” announcement.

Or the video. It struck me as a sort of “Hey, Apple doesn’t talk about anything specific in their ads, we can do that, too” kind of thing.

And I am aware that i may be reading too much into stuff here. smile

The problem with the video is that at no point do they pull back and show the slick interface they’ve come up with.

To answer your specific question, Mikuro, if you look at the screenshot I included you’ll see an easy-to-click camera icon—that will be within the Facebook interface once it’s launched.  When you click it, it will launch a video chat, and the whole thing is being powered by Skype.

Make sense?

Lee Dronick

Bummer, I can’t watch the video on my iPad.

As to slick interfaces I wish that they deslick some of them. It is a hassle to enter a blank line in Facebook comments. They have it set so when hit the Return key it posts the message. It didn’t used to be that way, it worked until they fixed it. The BetterFacebook extension has a setting to fix the fix.

Bryan Chaffin

The return thing puts me on tile, too, Sir Hank.

geoduck

I find the implied closer relationship between Facebook-Zuckerburg and Microsoft-Balmer rather disturbing.

I mean, ya wanna’ talk about your Axis of Evil :groucho:

Lee Dronick

The return thing puts me on tile, too, Sir Hank.

The entire site seems clunky and crude. What is with the “Please update your email address” that appears now and then.

I will see how the Google thing works out. I may let my Facebook account wither and check it less frequently. I would tell my friends to contact me directly if not at Google.

wab95

What!!??

Scepticism!!??

Zuckerburg? Ballmer? About what is there, exactly, to be sceptical? It’s not as if either has ever done anything to merit a guarded view, now have they?

Crikey!

wab95

On a more serious note, the target of this tie-up is clearly Google.

As analysts said yesterday on Bloomberg, Facebook have every reason to fear Google’s gathering prowess in social networking. MS too both fear and loathe Google (at least competitively), and clearly aim to thwart its march into new markets.

Of note, more than one analyst, in an orgy of revisionism, commented that the real target (and strategic genius of MS if not Ballmer himself) of this Skype purchase was really a backdoor purchase (of sorts - more like an investment) into Facebook, and therefore was done on the cheap.

As noted, all of these 750M Facebookers already had access to Skype sans FB-MS lovefest. On balance, most analysts I heard appeared to applaud the growth and maturity of Zuckerburg, the strategic thinking of MS, even if they expressed reservations about the value of the alliance.

Mikuro

To answer your specific question, Mikuro, if you look at the screenshot I included you?ll see an easy-to-click camera icon?that will be within the Facebook interface once it?s launched.? When you click it, it will launch a video chat, and the whole thing is being powered by Skype.

Make sense?

Almost. When I think “Skype”, I think of two things:

1. The Skype program.
2. The Skype service, which lets connect to others who use the Skype program and service.

I don’t think Facebook is using the Skype program (correct me if I’m wrong), and I’m sure they’re not going to require their users to sign up for the Skype service. Does this mean that Facebook accounts now double as Skype accounts? Can Skype users connect to Facebook users seamlessly? Or is the use of the name “Skype” merely for branding purposes?

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