Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the social networking giant was planning to launch "something awesome" on Wednesday. As many theorized, the big announcement was Skype video calling integrated into Facebook.
Users can make video calls directly from their friend's profile, by using the new "Call" button sitting between the "Message" and "Poke." Additionally, users can make video calls via their Chat sidebar, by clicking on a video camera icon.
Other changes have been made to chat as well, with the sidebar getting some changes. It now pops up automatically whenever the browser window is large enough ... it is "social networking" after all, and it also shows the people you message most by default.
Additionally, chat now includes the ability to Group Chat. To add more folks to a conversation, you simply click Add Friends to Chat.
Good heavens, is nothing sacred? The last thing we want to have happen after silently logging into Facebook to see what your awful friends are up to is have a distant relative shoot you a Video Call. Can't I just complain silently about people I don't like but can't unfriend for fear of reprisal in peace? Did we lose a war?
But seriously, folks. Not only is this a huge deal for Skype, but it's also a huge deal for Microsoft. Lest we forget, Microsoft is in the final stages of being the new owner for Skype?
I'm curious to know if Microsoft knew of these negotiations ahead of time and if they impacted their decision to purchase in any way. I don't know about you, but Facebook is generally blocked at the clients I've been to. However, it would be just about the easiest thing for a client to do to enable Video Chat for their users if they just went ahead and allowed Facebook to be viewed. Boom, instant Worldwide Video Chat! No software CDs needed to install those badboys.
What about you, will you enable Facebook now that Grandmas and CTOs can see each other any time of the day? Or will you continue to rule the internets with an iron fist?