Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the new features at the company's headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif. This announcement follows up on Zuckerberg's portent of "something awesome" last week. Skype video chat will be fully embedded into the Facebook ecosystem with an extension that is designed to make it as easy to use as possible. Essentially, video chat within Facebook is two clicks away.
"Now, Skype is obviously a part of Microsoft, and we have a very longstanding relationship with Microsoft," Zuckerberg said. "I wouldn't under-sell what we have today. The vast majority of video chat is one-on-one chat, and this is going to be something that is rolled out to everybody immediately and can be viewed through the Web. I just think that this is super-awesome. We are really excited by the product that we built."
Zuckerberg's definition of awesome may be different than other people's definition, but it is hard to deny that adding video chat to the Facebook ecosystem is a significant feature. Between Skype and Facebook there are now hundreds of millions of Internet users across the world that can now use video chat.
Facebook also rolled out a group chat feature. It is a way for people in Facebook Groups to chat with each other or for individual users to add multiple people to a chat.
Facebook has now caught up with the video and chat capabilities of Google and makes it easier to set up and install than Google. The reach of Facebook (Zuckerberg confirmed 750 million users on the platform) combined with ease of use could be a thorn in the side of Google as it tries to develop innovative new communications tools through Google Plus.
What do you think? Is group messaging and Skype video chat embedded into Facebook "awesome?" Let us know in the comments.
Get started with Facebook video calling by visiting this page on Facebook.