The Unthinkable Happens: Facebook to Improve Chat, Jumps on Skype Bandwagon.

Filed as News on July 6, 2011 6:03 pm

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Facebook LogoSkype, the much hyped internet chat and VOIP solution, used by many web geek since 2003 already, has now become a core part of the internet’s social network giant Facebook. In a rather unsurprising ‘Something Awesome’ event hosted by the Palo Alto network’s CEO the since days leaked already news was confirmed.

Facebook teams up with Skype to copy the new Google+ Hangout feature deliver improved chat and video chat.

Newsflash: Skype was first launched in August 2003 and had an estimated 663 million users (in Summer 2010), more than the social network almost a year later. While the chat feature of Facebook has been a rather uneventful and often frustrating experience since it launched in 2008, the question to be asked is whether the collaboration with Skype will help Facebook to continue growing?

Facebook has been successful in moving chat users from other networks to its own platform, remember when everyone was on MSN? Me neither. But while many private users might have made the switch from MSN and Yahoo to Facebook’s network, times have changed and Skype has an entirely different integration among its user base.

Personally I have been using Skype since Fall 2003, shortly after it launched, and my Skype network has grown entirely differently than my Facebook network. In other terms: most people I communicate with via Skype are not part of my Facebook circles and might never be, because I, like many others, use Skype as a professional tool and Facebook as a way to procrastinate stay in touch with friends. Stay in touch with friends when I don’t have sufficient time to engage in a long chat session.

Chances that I will ever connect with all my professionals contacts on Facebook are rather slim as well, especially since many companies have blocked the social network giant in their internet policy and firewall.

While the video chat feature could become a possible improvement for Facebook, it rests to be seen if both networks which are notoriously slow to create mobile apps for Android and iOS will manage to leverage their size and influence and jump on the mobile video bandwagon. The next question would be whether users will want to leave their stable Skype client environment for the notoriously unstable Facebook chat platform.

Of course if you’re one of the cool kids around, you already were on Google+ Hangout and Huddle before Facebook announced video chat.

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