Posts tagged ‘Facebook’

July 7, 2011

Facebook adds in Skype video chat

 Mark Zuckerberg: “This type of thing is only possible because of the social infrastructure that already exists”

Facebook has announced a partnership with Skype to add video chat to the social networking site.


The move is likely to be seen as a shot across the bow of Google, which recently launched a Facebook rival, Google+, also featuring video calling.


This is not the first time Facebook and Skype have teamed up – they already share some instant messaging tools.


Skype is in the process of being bought by Microsoft, which is a major shareholder in Facebook.


The new video-call service was launched by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who also revealed that the site now had more than 750 million users.


However, he said that the total number of active users was no longer a useful measure of the site’s success.


Instead, the amount of sharing – of photographs, videos and web links – was a better indication of how people engaged with the site, explained Mr Zuckerberg.

One to one

At launch, Facebook’s video chat service will only be able to connect two users face-to-face, whereas Google’s system allows group video calls, known as Hangouts.

Continue reading the main story Maggie Shiels Technology reporter, Silicon Valley

Coming hard on the heels of Google+, Facebook’s Skype offering is likely to be compared to its rival’s Hangout feature. That product allows up to ten people to chat at any one time, while the Facebook/Skype video chat feature facilitates just one-on-one video chatting.


Skype did hint that there will be added features in future, but Google has stolen the lion’s share of the headlines and Facebook will not enjoy being seen as following in its footsteps.


At the launch in California, Mark Zuckerberg was reluctant to get involved in a tit for tat comparison but he did say that he saw such products as part of the narrative that in future companies which have not traditionally looked at social networking will be layering it on top of all their products.

Mr Zuckerberg said that it was likely that other “premium” Skype functions would be added in future.


He also appeared to offer a back-handed compliment to Google+, saying that its creation was a vindication of Facebook’s vision for the social web.


Industry analysts welcomed the announcement.


“Advertisers love anything that keeps users on Facebook for longer and that is something Facebook has been brilliant at – keeping people engaged with the platform for increasingly longer periods of time,” Susan Etlinger of the Altimeter Group told BBC News.


“It stands to reason that the longer you are on Facebook, the happier advertisers will be.”


In California, Skype chief executive Tony Bates welcomed the partnership, calling it a “long-term relationship” that could benefit both companies.


At one point he had to correct Mr Zuckerberg on the subject of Skype’s ownership, reminding him that the Microsoft deal was not yet complete and still had to be cleared by regulators.


The tie-in was announced a week after Google announced its own social networking service, Google+.


“The two companies built these products separately and independently over a number of months but they will be compared directly,” said Ben Parr, editor-at-large of social media blog Mashable.com.


“They are going to be in more heated competition in the next year or so and you are going to hear a lot about who is going to win the social networking war – how does Google catch up, how does Facebook respond. This story isn’t going away.”

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June 30, 2011

Google goes social with Facebook rival

We’d like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software: Google’s senior vice president.

WASHINGTON: Google, the king of Internet search but a bust on the social front, launched its rival to Facebook on Tuesday, a social networking service called Google+.

“Online sharing is awkward. Even broken. And we aim to fix it,” Google’s senior vice president for engineering Vic Gundotra said in a blog post about the long-awaited social networking initiative from the Internet giant.

Unveiling Google+, Gundotra stressed the ability it gives users to separate online friends and family into different “Circles,” or networks, and to share information only with members of a particular circle.

“We’d like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software,” he said. “We want to make Google better by including you, your relationships and your interests.”

One of the criticisms of Facebook is that updates are shared with all of one’s friends unless a user has gone through a relatively complicated process to create separate Facebook Groups.

“Not all relationships are created equal,” Gundotra said. “So in life we share one thing with college buddies, another with parents, and almost nothing with our boss.

“The problem is that today’s online services turn friendship into fast food – wrapping everyone in ‘friend’ paper – and sharing really suffers,” he said.

Google+, located at plus.google.com, is currently being tested by a small number of people or is available by invitation only.

But Google said in a message on the site that it “won’t be long before the Google+ project is ready for everyone.”

Google unveiled several new tools integrated into Google+, including “Hangouts,” which allows for video chatting among friends, “Mobile” for location-sharing and “Huddle” for group text messaging.

Photos and video can be uploaded and shared among Circles using a feature known as “Instant Upload,” while an online sharing engine called “Sparks” delivers content from the Web into a user’s feed.

Google dominates Internet search but the Mountain View, California, company has failed to make inroads on the social networking front, where Facebook has accumulated nearly 700 million users and Twitter around 200 million.

Former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, speaking at the AllThingsD technology conference last month, took responsibility for the company missing the wave when it came to making services social, saying “I screwed up.”

Google’s last major foray into social networking – Google Buzz, launched in February 2010 – spawned a slew of privacy complaints and led to a slap on the wrist from the US Federal Trade Commission.

Under a settlement between the US regulator and Google announced in March, Google is required to implement a comprehensive privacy program and will be subject to independent privacy audits every two years for the next 20 years.

Google+ makes its debut as Google and Facebook wage a fierce battle over online advertising dollars and how people navigate the Internet.

Google does not send people to Facebook and vice versa, and both companies are seeking to become the chief gateway to the Internet.

In May, Facebook was left red-faced after acknowledging it had hired a prominent public relations firm to draw attention to privacy practices at Google.

Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of technology blog SearchEngineLand.com, said in a blog post it was “anyone’s guess” as to whether Google+ would be successful.

“If you’re happy using Facebook, there seems relatively little to make you want to switch over to Google Plus, at the moment,” said Sullivan, who received an early glimpse of the new service from Google.

“Perhaps if there are people who want a Facebook alternative, Google’s now got a core to build on for them.”