Facebook is giving you more options for communicating with your online friends and family. Just launched is a new video chat feature, so you can talk via webcam with your Facebook friends, right in your web browser; it's easy to use and quite useful.
The technology behind Facebook's new video chat is provided by Skype, so it's not surprising that Skype also announced new integration with Facebookincluding the ability to share contacts and view your Facebook news feed from within the Skype service. You also have the option of instant messaging or calling your Facebook friends from within Skype. Good features all, and certainly worth checking out.
What It's All About
Facebook has been working for the past year or so to revamp all its messaging-related features. It started with the new Messages feature, introduced toward the end of 2010, which consolidated all Facebook messages (wall messages, emails, and chats) in a single hub. The effort continues in 2011 with the introduction of a video chat feature, which lets any two Facebook friends with webcams get a little face time with each other, in real time.
This new video chat feature is powered by Skype, the leader in Internet voice and video calling. It is part of an even larger merging of technologies between the two companies, which also manifests itself in increased Facebook connectivity within the Skype service.
Why is Facebook video chat important? It's a huge step forward in enabling person-to-person communication on the Facebook social network, without having to make all such communication public. More practically, it enables just about any Facebook user with a webcam to have a face-to-face conversation with any other Facebook user, no other software to run. The entire conversation takes place in your web browser, on the Facebook site. There's virtually nothing to set up, and chatting with any Facebook friend is as easy as clicking a button.
Facebook video chat is also interesting in that it marks a relatively tight integration between Facebook and Skype. Not only does Skype power Facebook's video chat but the service also gets access to Facebook's news feed, friends lists, and the like. It's almost like the two services have fused to some degree.
By the way, as part of this latest evolution in Facebook messaging, you'll see a new chat design on the Facebook site. This includes a sidebar that displays those friends you message most; the sidebar adjusts with the size of your browser window.
Learn more about Facebook's video chat feature at http://www.facebook.com/videocalling or just continue reading.