A few weeks ago Facebook (likely in response to Google+’s strong launch) rushed the announcement of the arrival of their upcoming deep level Skype integration.
While Skype began moving towards Facebook integration in the 5.0 version, many of us suspected more was coming but we had not seen proof or action.
Now, the Facebook+Skype Video Chat is a component of the Skype Beta 5.5 (which I’ve been beta testing) and as a “coming soon” feature at Facebook Video Calling.
That link is also where you want to visit to see if you can get it for your account – but most of us cant. There was a small window of availability and it has closed again. Another staggered release likely to contribute to the issues we see with the messaging system not being “everywhere” yet.
The video calling can function between 2 facebook users and does not require the skype software. It does however require a browser addon that is a Java file (and kinda clunky to deal with). It works on Windows & Mac and the big four browsers. No mobile support exists at this time.
Here’s a review of the Facebook side of things from tech blogger Chris Parillo:
Here you can see the Skype 5.5 beta Facebook tab with my Facebook friends in an isolated view. The contact tab shows both my Skype contacts and my Facebook contacts blended together which is easiest for me to deal with.
The blended view means that a lot of people are now in my contact list twice, but it does seem I have a higher rate of finding them online “somewhere” now making at least the text chat integration more useable, more stable and more useful to me!
I’ve been unable to test the video calling yet but I’m hearing a lot of reports similar to what Chris had to say.
I’ve also always fought with the audio echo Skype calls, particularly those to my mobile phone, and I’m disappointed to see that that is not yet fixed. (For me usually hanging up and getting called back helps.)
I gotta say I’m in love with G+’s hangouts for small team video chat, and iWowWe’s Video Casting and Webinar platform for large team chat, but that Skype still, for the moment, remains my PHONEBOOK. Skype is what I log into when I need to call someone. (It’s not however, my social network.)
Have you started testing out the new Skype-Facebook integration? How do you feel it changes the game? Will it affect your use of either platform? How do you feel it compares and competes with G+’s Hangouts? I look forward to your thoughts!
Now if I could just find a way to connect the phone books and call utilities from Google Talk and Skype, I’d be set!
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