facebook 1 Facebook announces video calling, group chat and chat make over

Facebook's response to Google's announcement of Google+ was just announced and it looks like Facebook is retaliating by adding some expected and some unexpected features. The one feature that was much rumoured was video calls in co-operating with Skype and this turned out to be one of the new additions that will be arriving to Facebook shortly.

Facebook's response to Google's announcement of Google+ was just announced and it looks like Facebook is retaliating by adding some expected and some unexpected features. The one feature that was much rumoured was video calls in co-operating with Skype and this turned out to be one of the new additions that will be arriving to Facebook shortly.

The other two features include a new design to the chat interface and an option to do group chats. Facebook has optimized the chat bar for widescreen displays whereas it's now possible to add multiple Facebook friends to a text chat. Not exactly breakthrough features, but a clear sign that Facebook is evolving into new directions.

facebook 1 Facebook announces video calling, group chat and chat make over

The big announcement was of course the fact that you can now make video calls from Facebook simply by either visiting your friend's profile, or by using the chat interface. To get the video calling working you need to install a mini-client which Facebook claims will only take 10 seconds, as the rest is hosted on Facebook's servers. Once you've installed this you're reading to make video calls through Facebook. The service itself is handled by Skype, but right now it doesn't appear that it's possible to call Facebook users from Skype yet, but this meant to be enabled shortly.

Right now it's limited to calls between Facebook users, but during the presentation Mark Zuckerberg and Tony Bates, chief executive of Skype, alluded that other Skype services might be added over time, such as group calling and Skype out for example. Both companies were very positive about their co-operation and with Facebook getting Skype features, Skype is also getting new Facebook features.

The latest Skype 5.5 beta has gained deeper Facebook integration and it's now possible to see your Facebook contacts in Skype and do text based chat with them. However, it doesn't seem to be possible to call Facebook contacts from Skype quite yet, but as the Facebook video calling service was just announced, this might be part of the problem.

Facebook will be rolling out the video calling service to everyone over the next few weeks, but it's already possible to use it now. Do note that it's currently only working via the web and no firm word was given if it'll come to Facebook's mobile clients in the future or not. Oh yes, one more thing, Facebook now has 750 million users.

Source: Facebook, Skype