Widespread reports suggest Facebook will announce a tie-up with Skype this week to allow video chat from within the social network.
We’ve mused previously that Facebook and Skype were ideal partners, and it seems as if they’re finally going to make it official following a very long courtship. Facebook is already integrated into Skype’s desktop software and reports suggest that a press conference on Wednesday will launch in-browser video chat for Facebook.
During a tour of Facebook’s Seattle office last week, Mark Zuckerberg told journalists the company was going to “launch something awesome” at a press conference this Wednesday and it hasn’t taken long for reports to emerge about what will be announced. Tech Crunch quotes sources with knowledge of the project who say the social network will launch “a new video chat product, powered by Skype, that works in browser.” Further credence is given to this rumour by a couple of chat icons seen on the official invitation sent out by Facebook.
Whether the system will only work on computers with Skype already installed is not clear, but it would make sense from Skype’s point of view to have this as a stipulation. The deal of course will also be seen over at Mircosoft’s Redmond headquarters as a smart move. Many people questioned Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype for $8.5 billion but a tie-in with Facebook could boost the usage of the service dramatically – thereby increasing the possibility of making it profitable.
Of course there could also be downsides with this combination. It could lead to more ads appearing on Skype and for those not on Facebook it could mean getting annoying on-screen prompts requesting you to join – but for most people this partnership will make sense and could work very well. With the Google feature called Hangout, offering video calling between contact, Facebook will feel it needs to continue to innovate in order to stay on top.
The launch will be taking place in California on Wednesday at 6PM GMT and we will be following it live to bring you all the details as they are announced so make sure you check back here for the latest news. For now, feast your eyes on the image above of what Mashable think Facebook’s Skype video calling may look like.