The social network cut a deal with Skype, a widely-used and recognized Internet calling service, according to the New York Times. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the new video chat capability, saying it was easy and seamless to use.
The new development is expected to help Facebook, currently the most popular social network in the world with 750 million users, keep up with its new rival Google+, which takes video chatting a step further by allowing up to 10 people to video chat at once, the article pointed out. Analysts also expect that as Facebook video chat catches on, fewer people would go directly to Skype to video chat there.
The downside? You can't use Facebook's video chat on your smartphone and you can't video chat in a group, the article notes. However, the Financial Times pointed out that group video chat and mobile video chat capabilities on Facebook were being developed and would be available in the future.
So how do you use it? Registered users can access it here. You simply press the button indicated to get started and select someone from your chat list who you want to video chat with, clicking the video button at the top. A box will pop up on your friend's page to accept or decline your video chat call. Once they accept, you can get to talking over video. Those who have used Skype in the past will be familiar with the experience. The first time you use it, you will have to download a plug-in, but you don't need to install Skype. Of course, you'll need to have a webcam, headset, speakers and a microphone for the video chat session to work.
However, some users have reported glitches with the new feature, according to India's Business Standard. Users have complained that they didn't know how to get the video icon to show up on the chat box, while others have said that the chat session crashes for them the same way Skype does. It appears that in locations where Internet speed is slow, Facebook users struggle with lags for Facebook video chat.
In conclusion, with this new development, it seems like Facebook is making it clear after the release of Google+ that they intend to do whatever it takes to keep the massive user base that Google craves so badly.
This guest post is contributed by Patricia Garza, who writes about gadget, technology, design, social media, e-learning related articles at online university rankings.
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