Today Facebook launched a video calling service based on Microsoft Corp.-owned Skype technology. Part of Facebook Chat, the new service will support traditional person-to-person calls as well as multi-person group chats.
“A few months ago, we started working with Skype to bring video calling to Facebook,” said Phillip Su, a Facebook engineer working on the video calling team, in a post to Facebook’s official blog. “We built it right into chat, so all your conversations start from the same place.”
The new service, which is accessible HERE, will be rolled out in 70 different languages to all of Facebook’s approximately 750 million users over the next few weeks. Users can initiate a video call simply by selecting the ‘video call’ button at the top of any Facebook Chat window.
Facebook Chat’s interface underwent a redesign to accommodate video calling. It now includes a sidebar listing each users most common chatting partners that automatically appears if the user’s Web browser window is wide enough.
“Now it’s easier to find your friends and start a conversation,” said Mr. Su.
When Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook chief executive, said last week his company had “something awesome” to unveil this week, technology news site TechCrunch was first to report that something would be a Skype-powered video calling service the following day. That report was confirmed by Facebook with todays announcement.