Facebook Announces Video Calling, Group Chat & Redesigned Chat

Facebook announced three new “awesome” changes to the Facebook platform during a press event today.  A great deal of Facebook information was displayed along with the announcement of three new elements .  The new features and functionality include:

Video Calling

Facebook’s biggest announcement today was the partnership with Skype which will allow for video calling from within Facebook.  This partnership between Facebook and the soon-to-be-acquired-by-Microsoft Skype will allow for users to call friends for free directly inside the social networking site.  This comes on the heels of the recent Google+ announcement that has group video conferencing called “hangouts” included for all users.

Facebook users will be able to find this new functionality in two different locations:

  • As a video icon within a messaging box
  • Directly on a user’s profile page

In order to participate in video calls on Facebook right now, members will have to set the service up. Facebook states that:

“Video calling will be available to everyone over the next few weeks, but if you don’t want to wait, you can get it now.”

Additionally, users will have the ability to accept or refuse incoming calls.

There will be no mobile capability initially, but when asked about the potential mobile integration Zuckerburg stated “we’ll see.”  No word on group video chatting was released either.

A very ‘Apple-esque’ commercial was launched in conjunction with this announcement as well.

Group Chat

The second largest item to come out of today’s announcement was the addition of group-based chat.  Currently the only way to message multiple members to to include multiple users on a message or create a group.  This functionality will allow for a chatting user to instantly add another member to the chat.

Again, this functionality competes with Google+’s huddles, a group based mobile chat available between Google+ members.  Again, no word was mentioned about this new Facebook group chat available as a mobile app.

Chat Redesign

Along with the new group chat features, Facebook chat will be receiving a face lift.  The new Facbook chat will feature a sidebar that help users see who they message the most.  This bar will automatically show up when the widow is wide enough and will be a help to those looking to perform group chats.

For official information about today’s Facebook announcement, see the Facebook blog or view the full announcement. Also see our related stories:

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Facebook


About The Author: is the Chief Marketing Officer for Cypress North, a company that specializes in social media and search marketing services and web-based application development. He has been in the Internet marketing industry for 6+ years and specializes in Social Media Marketing. You can also find Greg on Twitter (@gregfinn) or LinkedIn.

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  • Don Ko

    Don’t you think videochatting itself is a technology that, while cool, is still limited to a very niche market, and a technology that (I think) isn’t proving to be compelling to other markets to adopt it widely? Or is it because I’m an old codger that I feel that way?

    Basically, while I know a partnership with Skype and the changes made to the Facebook site itself to support this took enough time that I wouldn’t consider this reactionary, per se, it still is already beginning to appear so to many people. I don’t know about this. For Facebook to think that this would help them (not knowing if they knew Google+ was in the works while they developed this) seems a bit Pollyannish.

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