Facebook and Skype Team Up for Video Chat

6 07 2011

I just had my first Facebook video chat. Think Skype inside the Facebook platform with your friends who are already connected to you on Facebook.

Google should take note that anyone who is on Facebook already and has a video camera, microphone and speakers hooked up can use Facebook Video Chat. That’s right, no invitations are needed.

This was just announced this afternoon via a joint press conference from Skype and Facebook. Here’s what William Fenton had to say about the new Facebook Video Chat on PC Magazine’s site:

Watch out Google+, the original social networking goliath isn’t about to get KO’d by some circles, hangouts, and sparks. Today Facebook announced asmarter sidebar, group chat, and integrated video conferencing. Some of it’s available today, and some of it’s on layaway—that is, unless you know how to join early. Here’s what you need to know about today’s announcements.

Smarter Sidebar and Group Chat
Last winter Facebook rolled out a new unified Message system that threaded together messages, chats, texts, and emails. Today they’re making itsmarter. You already have a sidebar that features your most frequent chat buddies; now it’ll scale to size of your browser window.

The other addition is group chat. When it comes to planning your next happy hour, Facebook won’t keep you thirsty. You can start with a conversation with one friend and bring more pals into the mix by clicking “Add Friends to Chat.” Facebook even archives the entire multi-threaded conversation in Messages.

Video Conferencing
We think Skype is great, but it’s only as useful as it is accessible. After Skype added some Facebook smarts to its popular video conferencing service, Facebook is repaying the favor by integrating Skype video calling directly into its Chat. This means that you have all your friends (or at least 750 million of them) corralled into one place. Because it’s built into Chat, the process is simple: Just as you’d initiate a new chat, click a friend’s name; when the window appears, click the new camera icon to initiate a video call. Of course, like any good announcement, it’s not available yet. However—and this is a big however—if you click over to this link you can get it now, though you will have to run a quick installer when you launch that first video conference.

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