Launching Facebook Video Chat Through a Partnership with Skype

Posted: July 7, 2011 in Competition, Facebook, Google, Technology, What's New

Facebook competing with Google+ (Google’s new social network site) video chat feature called  Hangouts that lets users chat one-on-one or in groups of up to 10:

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has promised that on July 6, Facebook would “launch something awesome” that the company’s Seattle team developed. On Friday, Facebook distributed official invitations for a special event at its Paolo Alto headquarters on July 6.

TechCrunch claims to have an inside scoop that the social network has partnered with Skype to develop a video chat service, according to “a source with knowledge of the partnership.”

Writes TechCrunch,

“The product has been built on Skype and will include a desktop component. It’s not clear to me whether that means it will just work if a user has Skype already installed on the computer, or if additional software will need to be downloaded even if the user already uses Skype. But it’s clear that there’s very deep integration between the products, and from the user’s perspective, the product will be an in browser experience.”

PCWorld predicts that the feature could grow into “serious competition” for Skype. Facebook currently does not offer a video chat feature.

There has also been speculation that Facebook may announce several other rumored works-in-progress, like an official iPad app, or even the super-secret Project Spartan mobile project.

As promised, Facebook has announcement on July 6, at 10 a.m. PST (1 p.m. EST, 6 p.m. GMT) at the company’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California; a partnership with Skype that will integrate video chat directly into the Facebook platform. Group chats are also rumored to be on the docket, though some speculate that Facebook may take today to unveil a new mobile platform.

Check the announcement here: http://livestre.am/wBjp

The new features include a redesigned chat interface, group chats, and the aforementioned video chat, all explained on Facebook’s blog.

The group chat feature will let users chat with multiple friends at once by selecting “Add Friends to Chat.” According to Facebook, 50 percent of users are using the Groups feature, for things like co-ordinating events. Users can add friends that are not online at the time, and those friends will receive a summary of the chat later on. The feature rolls out today.

The chat redesign takes into account the size of a user’s browser window and adjusts accordingly. Zuckerberg noted that users have found it difficult to start chats with the previous design. A new sidebar appears when the window is large enough and lists your most-messaged friends, even ones who are not online. A simplified chat tab will give users “one-click access” to chatting with friends. The new chat design will also roll out today.

Video chat, which the company collaborated on with Skype, lets users click a video call button at the top of their chat window in order to start the call. Users can also leave video messages for people who aren’t there. Once a user clicks the video chat feature, a plug-in is downloaded to enable the call in “ten to twenty seconds.” The feature will roll out to everyone in the next few weeks, though users can get on earlier if they’re eager by going to Facebook.com/videocalling. It is not yet available on the mobile app.

Zuckerberg also revealed that Facebook has hit 750 million worldwide users, with 4 billion pieces of information shared each day.

Via HuffPost Tech.

How far will this competition go??

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