In Your Face with Skype Video Chat on Facebook
Facebook, the number 1 social network, and Skype, the number 1 VOIP, have gotten in bed together. Mark Zuckerberg announced that Skype was being integrated with Facebook to provide video chat to their users. Ever since the upgrade in the chat functions last year there have been rumors about a possible Skype integration.
It is a perfect marriage of social function. Facebook the ultimate social network and Skype video chat, the ultimate in online person to person communication. Of course this announcement rides in on the coat tails of Microsoft announcing the purchase of Skype. Though Facebook is denying that Microsoft's purchase had anything to do with the integration, conspiracy theorists are not buying it. After all buying a company that will grow its network by an additional 750 million members makes it a pretty good investment. Not to mention that Google was a potential buyer for Skype, and you can bet that Zuckerberg would have been unlikely to integrate Skype if Google were the owners.
Conspiracy theories aside, the integration will be hard for people to miss. On profiles you now have a "Call" button. When you open up a chat window, you will see a video button at the top of the chat window.
When you go to make a call for the first time you will have to download a small plugin. Once the plugin is installed the call will be placed and a window will pop up on your friends screen asking them if they want to accept the call.
What is great is that Facebook users will not have to set up a Skype account to use the feature. The user API is anonymous, so you will be able to use it independent of a Skype account. This will make it easier for people to use and more likely that people will use it because it does not require a lot of steps to get it active. Not to mention that it will alleviate some of the privacy concerns raised with the integration of a third party application into the Facebook mainframe.
Another cool feature is that the system detects what your browser and operating system is before giving you the plugin. So Facebook was able to ensure that the new app is running smoothly for your system.
Phillip Su, Facebook Engineer, published notes on how the team built the app into the Facebook mainframe to ensure ease of use and privacy.
If you want to get started with video chat on Facebook, you can go here to download the plugin.