The king of social networking, Facebook, has teamed up with Skype to offer video chat to its 750 million users, intensifying competition with Google, which recently introduced a social networking platform to compete with Mark Zuckerbergs company.
The video feature allows Facebook users to click a video call button on their Facebook chat list or on a friends profile page, and a box appears on a computer screen of the other person to either accept or decline the call, according to The New York Times.
The offering doesnt support video calling on smartphones or group calls, but such capabilities are likely to be offered down the road in a partnership between Facebook and Skype, a company that has revolutionized how individuals throughout the world connect with each other. Luxembourg-based Skype, which is being acquired by Microsoft for $8.5 billion, has software that enables people to make free Internet-based calls around the globe over their computers, and users can also call mobile and landline telephones for a fee.
In a blog posting Wednesday, a Facebook engineer said the social networking giant is making the video feature available in more than 70 languages, and the service will be rolled out everywhere over the next few weeks. Users can access video calling immediately here.
Facebook unveiled its video chat about a week after Google introduced a social networking platform Google+ in a field trial that is available by invitation only.
The move reflects Googles initiative to challenge Facebook, a company that took root in a Harvard dorm room and has become one of the most recognizable names on planet Earth.