So, Facebook just became Face-to-Facebook. On Wednesday, Facebook announced they were partnering with Skype to give users the ability to video chat with their friends. For Skype users who already use video chat, it means you now don’t have to leave Facebook to do your video chatting. (Of course, this means you will have to have a Skype account and a webcam.) If you make a video call and there’s no answer, you can leave a video message. You can go here to set up Facebook video calling.
It will be interesting to see if Facebook’s video chat increases the overall rates for video chatting. Survey data indicate that currently about 13% of VOIP users are using video chat to talk to family, 9% to friends and 6% to their significant other. With 750 million users, there will surely be a boost in those numbers. However, for those of us who work from home and balk at actually getting dressed before noon, video chatting may not be the first thing on our list to do in the day.
There seems to be increasing chatter about how all the social networking we do online actually removes us more from human interaction. Will the accessibility of video chat in Facebook help bring some of that “humaness” back in to social networking?
Along with the announcement about video chat, Facebook also announced changes and new features to the current online/instant messaging features in Facebook. Previously, you were only able to chat between yourself and a friend. Now you will be able to do Group Chat and bring in several of your friends all into one chat. Facebook has also now implemented a new chat design with a sidebar that shows the friends you message the most at the top. Personally, I always have my chat showing as unavailable since I’m not big on instant messaging online. The sidebar appears automatically and fits within your browser window. I found it rather distracting and was glad when I was able to find the setting in the very lower right hand corner that allowed me to hide the chat sidebar.
As I mentioned before, I’ve not been a big user of Facebook’s chat features so the changes to the sidebar are not that big of a deal to me. But judging by the comments on Facebook’s blog in response to these chat changes, many people are not entirely thrilled with the change. Many prefer the ability to see which of their friends are online for chat and not have Facebook choose for them which friends to show in the chat bar.
The timing of this announcement coincides with the recently launched Google+ as Google’s new social network which already had video and group chat built in. Will user’s be more inclined to use Google+ for video and group chatting, especially since you don’t also have to have a Skype account to do it? Or will Skype users boost Facebook’s video chatting as users choose to stay in Facebook to do their chatting?
Will you be using Facebook’s new group chat or video chat features?
Category: Facebook News