Facebook teamed up with Skype to offer video chat inside of its pages as the world's largest social network prepares to go head-to-head with the world's largest search engine.
The agreement, announced by Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, will allow users access to Microsoft's recently acquired Skype video communications technology directly on Facebook pages, free of charge.
The move positions the Palo-Alto based social network toe-to-toe against Google's latest attempt to take over the social sphere, but the late announcement could make for bad PR.
But despite Facebook's partnership with Skype and Microsoft, , an analyst at Enderle Group, said today's announcement does make it look like Facebook is chasing Google.
Facebook may have started down this path first, but Google made theirs public first, so it makes it look like Facebook is catching up, said Rob Enderle, principal of the Enderle analyst group.
Google+, launched just last week, has the basic features that Facebook has, but adds innovations like Circles, a tool to easily organize and arrange friends, and tools to tag search results and other things around Google's online eco-system.
Zuckerberg took a veiled shot at Google, hinting that Facebook's development model was superior.
We want to leave all the applications to independent entrepreneurs and companies that are going to be best in class at building these things. That's a different strategy than other major Internet companies out there who try to do everything themselves, Zuckerberg said.
Google+ generated plenty of buzz, however, especially over its own videoconferencing function, which allows up to 10 people on the service to participate in a video call.
Zuckerberg hinted that video chat for multiple people could eventually be available on Facebook. But he said that most video chats today occur between two people.
We think this is awesome because we're using the best technology that's out there for doing video chat with the best social infrastructure that's out there to create some really cool new scenarios, said Zuckerberg.
The reigning social network isn't staying still either. Zuckerberg said that this represents only the first of many upgrades coming this year.
Still, both Facebook and Skype have a massive lead in their respective markets and that could render Google+ redundant regardless of how good it is. Facebook and Skype have a massive advantage with respect to customer reach against the very new and unique Google + offering, Enderle explained.