Facebook rolls out video chat via Skype, confirms 750m users

6 Jul 2011

Social networking giant Facebook has introduced a new video chat service powered by Skype as well as a new group chat function. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the service is available immediately in most countries and confirmed Facebook has 750m users.

As we expected, Facebook has sprung into action with a video service to rival Google’s new Hangouts videoconferencing service, which it unveiled as part of an array of Google+ social tools.

Zuckerberg explained the company has been working with Skype to bring video calling to Facebook.

The new video service has been built right into chat as part of an initiative to store all conversations between friends in one comprehensive place.

This makes sense for Facebook and it probably should have had a video chat function a lot earlier.

However, one obvious difference is the fact it is a two-way video chat system, unlike the Google+ offering which allows several friends to videoconference at once.

Nevertheless, a really cool feature is the ability to leave friends video messages. Kudos!

Either way, Facebook has arrived in video land and we can let the next compelling wave of video-powered internet applications start rolling.

Zuckerberg announced the new service will be available to its 750m users – yes, for the first time Facebook has confirmed this milestone publicly – in more than 70 countries.

The service will be available to every user over the coming weeks and is already working here in Ireland.

Facebook is also launching multi-person text chat to allow groups of friends to talk among themselves. Just like other chats on Facebook, the history of your conversation will be available in messages.

Skype CEO Tony Bates said 50pc of Skype’s traffic is video calling, averaging 300m users per month.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years