In surprise news yesterday, Facebook revealed the latest feature to go live on Facebook – Video Calling. Facebook has worked with Skype (which was bought by Microsoft some time back) to bring this feature to its 750 million plus users. The direct URL for Facebook video calling is: http://www.facebook.com/videocalling. Users need to login to this site using their Facebook credentials and the list of online friends automatically populates in the chat window. You would need to install a chat setup plugin when you visit the site first time and this is a onetime activity. The setup install is quite fast and took us less than a minute to install and that too in a single click operation. Once setup is installed, you may invite your friends for video calling by clicking on their names in the friends list and then clicking the call button. Your friend would first need to accept your call and install the plugin onetime (if it is not installed on his/her machine) and then you are all set for video chat.
- Small setup time
- Good video and voice clarity
- Easy to use as the system is well integrated in the Facebook platform itself – Simple enough for the non-geeky population of Facebook to easily adopt.
- Timing: Had this feature been released about 15 days back, it would have been well received. But, releasing this just after Google announced Google+ with the capability of video chatting simultaneously with 10 folks would not prove very good for Facebook.
Points to remember
- Privacy: The date of each call you make and receive appears within your ongoing conversation history in Facebook Messages. However, the calls themselves are not recorded or saved.
- You can use video calling even if you don’t have a webcam. You will be able to see and hear your friends, but they will only be able to hear you.
- As expected with Facebook, there is a long and complex set of setting through which you may control who can ping you for a video call and who cannot. Check out this page for more information:
What did we like best
We liked the way Facebook has revealed it. They have posted a sweet video which is sure to bring a smile to everybody’s faces who watch it and we so agree with Facebook’s thoughts-
“Sometimes an emoticon just isn’t enough. With face-to-face video calling, now you can watch your friends smile, wink and LOL.”