As users start checking out each other's latest hairstyles/facial hair and other distinguishing features thanks to Facebook's (news, site) new video chat feature, what do the industry bigwigs make of it?
Facing Up To Facts
The much-reported tie-up between Skype and Facebook has got everyone talking, largely about how this is a play to counter Google's new social media service, which comes with video calling built-in. From within the industry, Skype's imminent owner, Microsoft, seems delighted at the prospect.
According to a San Francisco Chronicle article, Steve Ballmer was, "as excited about this as anyone was. Skype's strategy is about endpoints, we want to be as ubiquitous as possible... If we integrate with Microsoft's assets, that's great. You can now talk from Microsoft assets into the Facebook network."
This suggests a future where any user using Facebook on their PC can ping another user and talk to them on whatever platform they are using. Facebook is available on Microsoft's Xbox, phones and other gadgets, so the more people with whom users can communicate, the greater value they will see in the products.
Skype CEO Tony Bates mentioned that Microsoft helped keep the new partnership moving forward, which was started before the MS/Skype deal. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook has a really good relationship with Microsoft -- not surprising as the OS company has a minor stake in Facebook.
At the Personal Level
An interesting take on the video chat feature comes from the parenting blog Babble, which worries that the feature, by its sheer ease of use, will lead more teens into trouble through video sexting. Also, with no direct age controls in place, younger children could get up to mischief on the family computer with ease -- perhaps those thumbprint access scanners will make a comeback.
There are also those users who promised to abandon Skype when Microsoft first announced the deal to buy the company. They may well find themselves using Skype technology regardless of their stand, without even realizing it in future thanks to its invisible ubiquity.