The new Facebook announcement about a partnership with Skype Technologies SA to offer video calls could have the largest social network site competing with other video call giants such as Google Inc. and Apple.
Facebook's Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement of the new video calls today during an event in Palo Alto, Calif., where the office is based.
Microsoft Corp., a partner with Facebook, will get Skype in an $8.5 billion-deal that could be sealed later this year, Bloomberg reported.
The new video call feature makes Facebook ready to compete with the likes of Apple, which has similar feature on its iPhone since last June, and Google Inc., which offered web calls through Gmail in August, according to Bloomberg.
We're using the best technology that's out there for doing video chat with the best social infrastructure that's out there in order to create some really cool new scenarios, Zuckerberg said during the presentation, according to the Bloomberg article.
Although video chat is nothing new, Zuckerberg touted the ease of use of Facebook's video chat. In a demonstration, a Facebook engineer showed that the browser-based function only takes two clicks to fully activate
On most broadband connections, it takes about 30 seconds for the whole program to boot.
To accept a request for video chat, users just have to click a button on a Facebook popup window.
Zuckerberg emphasized that there is no installation or no new registration; it's a feature that just seamlessly integrates into the existing Facebook experience.
Skype CEO Tony Bates said partnering with Facebook will allow the Skype technology to be as ubiquitous as possible, which is Skype's vision.
Google has brought stiff competition to the social networking scene since the half-launch of Google+ last week. Google+, a new social networking site by Google, is another avenue for friends to share information with each other, or a select few, or catch up on what's new with each other through video calls or hangouts.
Before the Facebook announcement today, analysts speculated the deal between Facebook and Skype could be a reaction by Facebook to try and quickly add the features it's currently missing when compared to Google+.