All 750 million Facebook users, rejoice! The era of Facebook video calling is here, and you can use it RIGHT now! In a big Facebook announcement today, founder Mark Zuckerberg talked about Facebook's partnership with Skype during a live streamed press conference, held in Palo Alto. Facebook users will be able to chat with one another face-to-face with just a few easy clicks.
Social media freaks like me watched the live streamed news conference, the first of what Zuckerberg calls "launching season 2011." Dressed up for the occasion wearing his nerd uniform of jeans and a T-shirt, Zuckerberg showed the world Facebook's newest features using his purple MacBook.
So how's this new video calling work? And what's this mean for Skype? Here are 5 things you need to know about Facebook's latest announcement:
1. You need a camera. This may be a given, but if you don't have a laptop or home computer with a camera, you'll need one to use this. If you have a camera on your computer, then the rest is as simple as tying your shoe ... assuming you learned that skill when you were a toddler. And besides, we're in 2011 here, people. Not having a camera alongside your comp means you're clearly out of the loop.
2. Your username won't be taken. Facebook video chat works with your existing profile name. No more asking your friends what their Skype names are. Much less details = more sanity for us all.
3. You may wanna spruce up before Facebooking. Essentially, your friend will click the little video camera icon that will be next to your name in the chat menu. Then, you'll hear a ring. Click to accept the call, and the new software will download in seconds. Then, bam bam boom! You're chatting. Easy, right?
But who wants to reject a one-on-one with one of your gal pals you haven't seen in years, just because you're not looking your best? A little bronzer and you're good to go.
4. There's video messaging, too! Honestly, I was a bit more excited for this than the standard video chat feature. Toying with the technology, my iDad already sent me one, and it's awesome! I wasn't available for chat (the computer I'm on does not have a camera), and like the standard Facebook message, he said what he wanted to say, and it was sent to my inbox since I wasn't available.
Now that video is in my message list, and I can replay it whenever I want, as many times as I want. Do you know what I would have done for technology like this while my boyfriend was away on his last deployment in Afghanistan? Unreal.
5. Skype isn't going anywhere. Sure, technologically savvy people with Facebook accounts, like you and me, will chat using the video messaging on the website. However, not every grandparent has a Facebook account, and video chat only makes up of half of Skype's business. CEO of Skype Tony Bates told the media at today's conference that he only sees things getting better from here on out.
Facebook also announced today that there would be updates to their chatting platforms, including improved group chat capabilities and a new look for your Facebook contacts "buddy list." No more extra clicking necessary! Soon, users will see a buddy list on the side of their window, showing them exactly who is online with the users they communicate with most often on top.
If you ask me, this is awesome. Personally, there's one less application to launch when I turn on my computer -- and easy iChat-like capabilities with my "friends" without snagging a username. I'm just counting down the hours until I'm home with my purple MacBook to test it out!
What do you think of today's big Facebook announcements? Have you tried Facebook's new video calling yet?
Image via Facebook