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Facebook Announces Video Calling With Skype 102

An anonymous reader writes "As rumored and anticipated, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg today announced video calling, powered by Skype. The company also revealed other chat improvements, including an option to see the friends you message most and group chat, and confirmed that it now has 750 million users."
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Facebook Announces Video Calling With Skype

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  • Absolutely unprecedented. I'm shocked. Did ANYONE see this coming?

    • Say Goodbye to your Bandwidth.
      As I know the youth of today will never close any video chat, ever!

      • As I know the youth of today will never close any video chat, ever!

        Bits aren't metered, so they have no disincentive to not cost you extra money.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...and the Facebook bashing begin!

  • by Gr33nJ3ll0 ( 1367543 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @03:23PM (#36674250)
    They should have announced real privacy controls, and a google+ circle clone. Instead they've added an unnecessary feature designed to distract people from their true problems. Right now they have an approval rating slightly better than the IRS. I suspect that the stated 750 million users will be their high point, and it's all MySpace from here on out.
    • by ebs16 ( 1069862 )
      Facebook has already has a google+ circle clone. They restructured facebook groups a while back to provide essentially the same function, they just haven't pushed the feature.
      • Thanks, I didn't realize that. I cancelled my account a year or so ago over all the privacy problems.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        False. The restructured groups is substantially different than Circles. Groups are static, shared spaces. Circles are personal organization. Groups do have some nice features (such as group chat), but they don't grasp the personal nature of circles. The beauty of circles is that they are one-way: if I'm in someone's circle, it doesn't effect me in any way, and I don't even know what circle I'm in or why. In a group, it is a rigid container to add people to, that everyone in the group has roughly equal owner

      • by Arctech ( 538041 )
        While the feature does exist, it takes a good bit of time to set up and organize (especially for people with 200+ contacts) and on top of that it's cumbersome to use. Google+'s Circles feature, as I understand it, is introduced with the addition of every contact, and in every post you make it's made very clear with what groups you are communicating information to.
    • by cgeys ( 2240696 )
      Unnecessary? Yeah, maybe us slashdotters wont use the video chat feature much, but normal people love it. To be honest I rather use MSN Messenger with my girlfriend, but such feature really is essential to Facebook too.
    • All Facebook has done is bolt Skype's desktop client onto their old Facebook webpage. You actually are forced to download and install the Skype software the first time you try to video chat with someone on Facebook.

      You might as well just use the existing Skype desktop client instead of this hack.

      This desperate response from Facebook is not in the same league as Google+:

      Facebook with Skype bolted on:

      * Only 1 on 1
      * Clunky first time external software instillation


      * Up to ten person group chat
      * Works on

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      They should have announced real privacy controls

      The real privacy control is "don't post it on the Internet in the first place".

      Privacy controls, even if they were strong, don't exist. If even one other person can see it, they can easily turn "friends only" into "everyone". (Google+ illustrated this perfectly by letting friends repost indefinitely).

      Facebook's privacy controls are privacy theatre. Facebook wants you to spill your guts on it. The only reason these controls exist is a significant percentage of

      • The real privacy control is "don't post it on the Internet in the first place". Privacy controls, even if they were strong, don't exist.

        I think you mean perfect privacy controls don't exist. It is possible to make some things harder than others, much in the same way that a door with a lock is more of a deterent than a door without one. Right now Facebook doesn't even have a decent lock.

    • by hitmark ( 640295 )

      Iirc, there is [] for the circle stuff.

  • by N8F8 ( 4562 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @03:24PM (#36674254)

    Yay, now I'll have a bunch of relatives trying to videochat me like they try to chat me now. And I'll get to spend even more time explaining why I couldn't answer (or didn't want to).

    • 1 Create different groups.

      2 Add the people you don't want to chat with to one group.

      3 Always appear offline to that group.
      • by cgeys ( 2240696 )
        I did exactly this after some relatives added me and they just didn't understand the online/idle color in Facebook and would always flood me with "hello??" and get mad when I didn't answer. Works like a charm, they don't see me online anymore, but everyone else do. And it's still not completely blocking. You can also easily ignore status updates from people that flood them. Most problems that people here on slashdot complain about are easily fixed with one click.
        • Yup and you can control which group can see what you publish. And people think google+ just thought of it.
      • 4. Learn when to say 'I'm busy. We can chat later"
  • I'm glad I stayed out of Facebook (not that it ever held any interest to me in the first place), I'm glad I stayed away from Skype before it got gobbled up by Microsoft and made to go to bed with Facebook (who needs super secret telephony protocols when SIP is around), and therefore I'm doubly glad none of my personal information is on any of Zuckerberg's or Balmer's servers.

  • Bound to be a setting which allows Facebook to turn on my camera without my knowledge.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      This is Mark Fucking Zuckerberg. With the wave of my fucking dick, you tiny little asshole, I can make the camera turn on on your computer even if you don't have one on your computer, because I'm Mark Fucking Zuckerberg. As we speak, I, Mark Fucking Zuckerberg, now have 750 million adherents, and pretty soon we're gonna outnumber Catholics and Muslims, and then you fucking watch, because I'm Mark fucking Zuckerberg, and me watching you give it to your wife will be the least you'll be worrying about.

      Fuck y

      • Woah, your ego is approaching that of Jobs. But Facebook is not as cool as Apple. People trust Jobs not to watch their bedroom while they're scrumping their wife. I'm not so sure "Hello, I'm Mark Fuckerberg and I promise I won't abuse your privacy" will be quite as believable.
        • This is Mark Fucking Zuckerberg responding to the tiny little man who replied to my post. I've always stated that I don't give a fuck about your privacy, and see your data as a commodity I can sell to make a profit and further inflate my massive fucking ego. You just wait, pretty soon Facebook will be on your fridge and in your fucking toilet and I, Mark Fucking Zuckerberg will be watching you make a ham on rye and then watch you crap it out the other end, because, that's right, I'm Mark Fucking Zuckerber

          • What an honor sir. I never thought you'd reply to me. But since we're on speaking terms now I thought I'd ask what you'd do if I buy an Apple refrigerator and an Apple fucking toilet so Steve Jobs can protect me from your Facebook app's peeping tom feature? What then, Mark Fucking Zuckerberg?
    • Does the Facebook/Skype use Flash or does it require you install Skype?

      If it it uses Flash and you're on Windows you can block all websites from accessing your webcam in the Flash privacy settings. You have to do it after every update though because it resets.

      • by vlm ( 69642 )

        Does the Facebook/Skype use Flash or does it require you install Skype?

        If it it uses Flash and you're on Windows you can block all websites from accessing your webcam in the Flash privacy settings. You have to do it after every update though because it resets.

        My wife's magnetically glued to the facebook client on her ipod touch... I'm guessing that means it doesn't use flash, at least on apple i-products?

        Slashdot needs Geekcode | Can anyone recommend any good SCIFI? My tastes: Foundation, Startide Rising, CITY, Ringworld,

        KSR Kim Stanley Robinson's mars trilogy? KSR rocks.
        Leon Frankowski's crosstime engineer series (not exactly sci fi but ... sorta alternative history, like a robinson crusoe version of 1632)
        Some of Ringo's Posleen series such as the freely available Hells Faire might appeal to you, but if not, don't say I didn't warn you..
        Google for the name Nathan Lowell and "q

        • FYI, it uses some sort of Skype plugin, it looks like. I tried it on an Ubuntu system and it wanted me to download and install a .exe. I don't know if it uses flash; it doesn't work with Linux, apparently...
  • Now I can not only know what a bunch of people I don't care about are doing everyday, I can also video chat with a bunch of people I don't care about!!!
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Sounds like you need some new friends.

  • That's the question. How does Skype scale? I personally do not trust this peer to peer set-up from Skype.

    Try engaging more than 7 people in a video chat to see what I mean.

    • They use Linux and PostgreSQL. That means it is the most superior design right?

      • They use Linux and PostgreSQL. That means it is the most superior design right?

        Nope, not at all. Remember that even with the 'best tools' administrators can do a pretty poor job.

        Like Adobe's Flash, some sites work well yet others do not.

        In my few years of administering databases, I have seen poor and sorry implementations of the simplest of ideas, yet more efficient tools exist on the same system.

  • Maybe it's just me, but I'm really not impressed since it still requires software to be installed on the desktop. I guess it's removing a step by not making me launch skype, but I'd be really impressed if it was purely browser based like the new google solutions just announced.
  • What's Facebook?
  • Annoys me when I get a unwanted chat message on Facebook. I want to completely disable the chat feature but there is no way that I know of. I can sign out of chat but that won't stop Facebook from automatically signing me back in later. The last thing I want is video chat requests popping up in my browser.. ugh
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You can either block the following:

      Or you can block the following IP range: - .199

      Or you can just select "Go Offline" in the Facebook chat app.

  • Group chat has been something that other apps have provided on facebook for over 4 years, nothing new here, just move along. As for video chat, that hasn't been in Google Talk and Skype for a very long time, has it? It's interesting to see confirmation that facebook is actually teaming up with Microsoft, the new owners of Skype. Maybe this is how M$ will try to make themselves relevant again, other than by being a patent troll.
  • Now instead of launching Skype to video chat, I can log into Facebook and then launch Skype to video chat.
  • by JustinFreid ( 1723716 ) <> on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @03:38PM (#36674438) Homepage

    Google out socialed Facebook with Hangout - it allows simultaneous video chat with multiple people and allows the group to watch a YouTube video and will probably soon allow sharing of stills and allow collaborative drawing or document editing, too.
    Facebook's repost here is a feature that Google integrated into its chat product long ago. Maybe this explains Mark's obvious chagrin in his Google+ profile picture.

  • I'm not saying I was an early adopter ... especially here on slashdot ... but I was chatting in a browser a year or two ago with Google Chat ...

    Seems more or less that this is exactly the same thing.

    Google had the initial perceived advantage that I could just get any video capable XMPP client to work with it ... which of course isn't the case since no one follows any standard when it comes to video so there really is no difference, except this is way later, by someone I trust even less than Google with my p

  • by Kozz ( 7764 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @03:39PM (#36674450)

    I kindly ask the moderators to promote to "+5 informative" the first post which provides comprehensive instructions on how to fully opt-out of these new "features".

    • Opt out by not using them? Don't you opt-in by initiating or accepting a video chat in the first place? Wouldn't it work the same as opting out of Skype video chats?

      • by Kozz ( 7764 )

        Opt out by not using them? Don't you opt-in by initiating or accepting a video chat in the first place? Wouldn't it work the same as opting out of Skype video chats?

        You'd think so, wouldn't you? If you were unfamiliar with Facebook, perhaps... but I've no doubt that any and all new FB features will be "opt-in" by default for all users everywhere, and in ways you didn't think were possible or make any sense.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Well, currently you're wrong and just imagining things, so quit whining or quit facebook.

    • Don't hook up a camera or microphone?
    • For video chat?

      Don't install the required video plugin when prompted to (at least on Firefox 5).

      I reckon that'll stop it from working.

  • When do we get the new Slashdot feature to block all 'I don't use Facebook because it's stupid / don't have any friends I want to connect with / whatever other high-horse reason' posts so you can actually discuss new relevant to one of the largest online applications in the world?

    • Probably the same time we get the new Slashdot feature to automatically remove any FaceBook stories from the front page.
      Oh wait, that's like NOT clicking the link and reading the comments.

      On a more serious note, when did relevant "new" discussions come back to /.?
    • Set your moderation threshold higher. It won't block all of them, but if you're only looking at Score:3 items, you won't see a lot of the redundant nonsense. Of course, if I had done the same, I would have missed this little meta-gem of a post...
    • Now that Microsoft's having their Partner Banquet with Microsoft you won't have to worry about it much longer. Pretty soon Zuckerberg's going to find Facebook isn't a guest at the banquet - it's the main dish. It is always this way. Over and over and over these stupid companies do this and it always ends the same way.
  • Now I'll get to see live video of those tasty sandwiches my friends are enjoying - no more of this boring still photo crap!

  • is this any better than using Skype separately? Are we so lazy and dependent that we need video chat integrated into Facebook as well? Now we have to put up with all the hassles of the integration (privacy, more layout changes). Just great.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    When you try to use the video calling feature, it pops a .EXE file download. I guess they expect everyone to be using Micro$oft products. They kind of left that out of the discussion.... Would have been a better solution had they just used html5 or flash video.

  • People have been trying to make video chat popular for YEARS. Every single major comms player since about 1980 has tried to make it into something more than a niche for pervs and loons, and failed - miserably.

    The latest flogging of the dead horse of video for interpersonal comms was Apple with Facetime. Flop.* Or at least, everyone I know has iPhone 4s and iPad 2's - they all used Facetime once, and concluded as bazillions of people have concluded down the years, that it was awkward, distracting and just do

    • by mangino ( 1588 )

      Really? Facetime a flop? Do you have kids? Do you live apart from Family? My family loves Facetime. I can follow my kids around with a phone much more easily than a computer so that Grandma and Granpa can watch them play. I wouldn't expect people to make video calls all the time, but it sure makes family seem closer.

    • Are you joking? I video chat with one of my (non-technical) best friends a few times a month. My other friend video chats with his long-distance girlfriend every day. Another friend video chats with her family on the other side of the ocean a few times a week. At my last job skype video conferences were a fixture of our development/design process, and also common for interviewing engineering candidates. Video chat pretty much happened.

      The truth is that people communicate a lot of information through their

    • by lennier ( 44736 )

      Think about it: you do not open a comms channel in whatever medium and think "You know, I just WISH I could see their faces."

      Speak for yourself, I've been using MSN video chat for years to talk to relatives overseas.

      You do know people online who you've met in real life... right?

    • something more than a niche for pervs and loons

      I think you have some unresolved issues. Got scarred by live re-enaction of goatse on ChatRoulette, by chance?

  • It took thousands of highly-skilled engineers millions of man-hours to piggy-back on someone else's product in such an non-innovative way!

  • Normally I don't rag on Facebook for privacy...but they have to have video chat, and choose the ONE company determined to make Law Enforcement's wet dream of total VOIP surveillance even in retroactivity a reality. FB is probably working with them to automatically transcribe your calls so that ads can be targeted at you based on what you talk about with relatives. I am deeply disappointed.

  • It's not like I have anything to hide really, but I don't understand why the trend went from the "anonymous" internet to "Hey, everybody can see my personal phone number and address! Look at the fetishes I have and guess who I'm cheating with!" I don't even really see the purpose of putting Skype video chat into Facebook other than mashing together your contact lists - you know so now people you barely know over the internet who once wrote on your wall can just up and video chat with you. Seriously, this wh

  • Does anybody know if Skype will be sharing any data with Facebook? You know, because I've been doing my best to make sure Facebook knows absolutely nothing about me and I'm a Skype user.

At work, the authority of a person is inversely proportional to the number of pens that person is carrying.