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Facebook and Skype Offer Video Calling

Date: 2011-07-06 16:36:41

Ken Klein, Healthy Passwords
July 7, 2011 5:00PM EDT

Facebook announced new options for communicating with your friends today. There are three major components, the biggest being video chat. They are also rolling out a new group chat and chat interface.

The new video chat added to Facebook is powered by a Skype plug-in, which is supposed to work on all browsers. When a user clicks on the icon for Video chat, it will download the plug-in and connect to the other user. No Skype account is required. The demonstration made the process look very easy to use.

Facebook software engineer Philip Su said "Video chat has been around for years now, but it's still not an everyday activity for most people. Sometimes it's too difficult to set up, or the friends you want to talk to are on different services. So a few months ago, we started working with Skype to bring video calling to Facebook. We built it right into chat, so all your conversations start from the same place. To call your friend, just click the video call button at the top of your chat window."

When you click to call a friend, the friend will see the call coming and choose to accept or reject the call. Once accepted they will see a video screen showing you, and you will see them. You will both be able to talk and hear each other using your microphone and speakers. The user will, of course, require a webcam, microphones and speaker.

Facebook Chat Image

No mentions were made about security settings around these new features and whether users can turn control the ability for other users to make video calls. It sounds like video calls will only be available for users you have in chat groups.

Chat groups have been part of facebook for about six months. According to Su, "Now when your friends can't figure out what movie to see, you can just add them to a chat and decide together". They have enhanced it to allow ad-hoc groups to chat instead of predetermined groups. The new group chat rolls out today.

A new chat design is being integrated where if a users browser screen is wide enough, a new side bar will show your chat users on the right side of the screen

In another part of the same press conference, related another new feature. See: Facebook Becomes a Message Hub

Category: Facebook

Subcategory: Website

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