Facebook has announced the long rumoured partnership with Skype, which incorporates video chat with the world’s biggest social network. This is not the first time they have partnered, as they currently share some instant messaging tools. From the conference in California, Skype chief executive Tony Bates welcomed the partnership, calling it a “long-term relationship” that could benefit both companies.
The Facebook/Skype deal is more evidence that Microsoft and Facebook are in partnership together, as they fight their mutual battle against Google. As Sharon Gaudin from ComputerWorld reports, it’s “a swing directly at Google’s new social network with Microsoft’s help.” Microsoft is currently in the process of buying Skype for £5.2bn, which is also a major shareholder in Facebook. The video calling service itself is easy to operate, with a single button being integrated into the chat box, which can be see above. The widget on Facebook does not require you to download a specific program from Skype, instead users download a plug-in for the new video chat tool, which only take 10-20 seconds.
At the moment you can only video call with other Facebook members, and not current users of Skype. This system also only allows two users to connect face-to-face with each other, whereas Google’s system allows group video calls, called Hangouts. Considering this seems to be in direct competition with Google surely it would of made sense for Facebook to introduce ‘group calling’.
Mark Zuckerberg stated that the announcement would be ‘awesome’, but is it really? It seems that it may have been prompted by the announcement of Google+. He used the event to have a little dig at Google and its ever increased range of services, although Zuckerberg doesn’t seem concerned by the potential threat Google+ presents, “Our job is to stay focused” he said. It has now simply become a battle with Google and Facebook, and no doubt more events and controversy surrounding their rivalry will come about in the following months.
The question is though: How will Google be able to create such a vast amount of members to compete with Facebook? Although everyone keeps mentioning about the number of members Facebook has, currently over 750 million, Mark Zuckerberg stated that, ‘this is no longer a useful measure, instead the amount of sharing of photographs, videos, web links etc. is a much better indication of how people engaged with the site.’ With a statement like this, surely Google can rival Facebook, who knows…only time will tell. What do you think about the new video calling, let us know your thoughts?