Facebook Video Calling - Use, Call Quality And Verdict

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Using Facebook video chat is very straight-forward and

intuitive. Having opened your Chat contacts and seen who is available to chat,

double click on that person’s name and at the top of the pop-up window you’ll see a new

video camera icon. Clicking on this will send an invitation to the person to

take part in a video chat. The person will receive a pop-up notification

(similar to the one you get in Skype) along with a ringing sound, if they

already have the plug-in installed. If the plug-in is not installed on your

friend’s computer they will be invited to do so, and you’ll be informed as to

what is happening.

Once all this is done, video calling works as you would

expect it to. While some have complained about the quality of the video

calling, we found it more than adequate while testing it for the past few days, with both sound and picture being in sync for the

vast majority of time we were using the service. 

Once a call is connected, a

video window appears over your Facebook page with an image of the person you are calling

taking up most of the screen and a small picture of you in the top right-hand

corner. The video window can be dragged to a suitable place on your screen and

can also be re-sized. To end a call all you need to do is hover the mouse over the

window and a option to end the call will appear.

      

If you don’t have a webcam as part of your system, fret not

as you can still get in on the video-calling excitement but the person you are

calling will only be able to hear your voice while you will still be able to

see them. There are very few tweaks you can make to the video-calling feature

in Facebook as it has been designed with simplicity in mind and so it can be

used by almost anyone. With Skype powering the service, it didn’t surprise us

that the service worked pretty well. It has had years of practice at getting

video-calling right and has managed to bring that expertise to Facebook.

While we found the system very easy to use, there are

obviously some drawbacks. Currently the system is limited to one-on-one calls

and while Zuckerberg didn’t rule out adding group calling in the future, this

limitation will be a turn-off for many. With Google offering group calling

with its Hangout feature, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Facebook updating its

service very soon.

Verdict

Overall the system works (for most computer configurations) and offers an

ease of use that regular Facebook users will find very compelling. Despite the system working, it still seems as if the announcement was a little rushed and could be a

reaction to the announcement of Google . If this is the case, video calling on

Facebook should get better in the coming months and if Facebook can build on

its initial success, it could have a very compelling feature on its hands.

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