Facebook announces video calling: Not quite Chatroulette, not quite Skype either

Summary:Facebook is bringing video calling to its 700 million users, with a helping hand from Skype. How "awesome" do you think this news is?

And there was an entire generation of people hoping Facebook would announce a "dislike" button.

I'm disappointed, to say the least.

But as we all suspected, Facebook is bringing out Skype video calling for the masses to the world's largest social networking site.

As announced just a moment ago on the Skype Twitter account, the two companies are coming together to bring something "awesome" to the 750 million users that use the social networking site.

And this is what you will see.

It's necessary to install a small plug-in to get it started. So, it's not quite Skype as many of us hoped.

And as you can see, Mr. Perlow and I are talking via video in the Facebook window.

The video calling section of Facebook has just gone live.

Interestingly enough, for many have forgotten, Skype was bought by Microsoft for $8.5 billion. Microsoft already has quite a stake in Facebook after the two partnered on social search -- primarily the introduction of the Bing search engine in Facebook.

So, does that mean that Microsoft is increasing its stake in Facebook, with its Skype integration?

Probably. Maybe. I'll make an educated bet and say that they are.

So what does this mean for the vast majority of younger people who use the social networking site?

Not actually that much. It will be interesting to see the trends move away from the desktop client version of Skype to the Facebook version.

But many find that they either like having their social networks and contacts collide, and others don't. This could be the one major pitfall.

But let's hope that it doesn't turn out to be a Chatroulette 2.0. After seeing my fiftieth penis, I must admit -- I got a little bored.

There's already an odd disparity between the two platforms. Both Facebook and Skype have open chat protocols -- so you can take your contacts to any instant messenger client, and now both have video calling capabilities.

But considering so many find that Facebook Chat is slow, buggy and often it simply doesn't work, many will still resort to Skype for their instant messaging -- as well as free voice and video calls.

I suspect at least for the college student perspective, Skype has been given a boost with Facebook's announcement today.

It won't kill off Skype for the desktop; it will merely enhance it. It's just another entry point for the masses to take advantage of.

Related content:

Topics: Social Enterprise, Collaboration

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.