Facebook and Skype Unite

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the stage this morning to makes some new announcements. Facebook has been hinting about these for several weeks now. One of the first thing mentioned was their growth rate.

He stated that Facebook users are sharing twice what they shared a year ago. A lot is happening in the “social world now” – users are sharing four billion ‘things’ on Facebook every day. Four billion. Wow.

Next, Mark announced a major new feature that it is launching with Skype: Video Calling. From now on whenever you browse to a friend’s profile, you will see a new button between the Message and Poke buttons that says Call. Click that, and the other user will see a popup asking if they want to accept a call, and you’ll be immediately connected.

Video calling is also being added into Facebook’s Chat product. Zuckerbuerg called this a simple and easy to use new feature.

Apple has its own video chat protocol designed to be simple and easy for end users: FaceTime. That Apple-only service is available on iOS devices with forward-facing cameras…the iPhone 4, iPad 2, and the fourth-generation iPod touch. It can also be used on Macs with Apple’s FaceTime application.

But while FaceTime is available on mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad, Skype video chat in Facebook is a Web-only feature “for now,” – meaning it will not be available in Facebook’s iPhone application.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The phrase “too many cooks in the kitchen” comes to mind. Skype has been struggling. Their clients have been buggy this past year. The “promised” iPad Skype app is still vaporware. AND Microsoft just bought them. That will affect the service one way of the other… that I know for sure.