The Social Network and Skype Video on Facebook

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Image by stevegarfield via Flickr

Last night I watched the Social Network. I really enjoyed it but it left me with a few questions about some of the intricacies of the story of facebook, and it also got me thinking about what they’ve been doing lately.

The Skype Video on Facebook rumour was around for a long time before it was finally announced. It’s one of those things that initially you think is going to change the game completely, but then on reflection you start to wonder how many people will actually understand and use this new function.

If Skype are providing most of the back-end for this service, I’m not entirely sure how it helps them in the long run. They must have some sort of financial deal with Facebook to make this tie-up commercially viable, but it must also extend towards further integration which could include using skype’s paid services within the Facebook site itself, which would open up Skype’s paid offerings to practically everyone in the world where before it was a more niche product.

Obviously, now they’ve been bought by Microsoft (still would have prefered Google or Facebook) they don’t have to worry about money, but even so, I’m sure they want to prove to their new owners that they are very much self-sufficient and worthy of the big money takeover.

The newest version of Skype that I just downloaded includes even more Facebook integration. Now, rather than simply being able to read your newsfeed and call people who make their phone number public, you can actually instant message your Facebook friends directly from Skype. It sounds interesting, but from my quick experiment, it seems to override your group settings so you’ll appear online to everyone whenever you’re on Skype, and that’s hardly ideal especially for people with a ton of “friends”. I like the idea though, and surely the next step is to add cross platform video calling, as the technology is surely there now to do it. Unfortunately, this new version of Skype is riddled with bugs and is unstable, so I’m kind of wanting to go back to the previous one.

It’s going to be increasingly tough for people who aren’t particularly comfortable with appearing on video chat to avoid it. This technology will become more and more mainstream, what with the inevitable growth of services such as facetime and other mobile video chat clients. Then again, no one’s going to chain anyone down and force them to use it, so I say bring on the revolution.