Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Wednesday a new video calling service for the social network.
Zuckerberg introduced the service at a press event at the company’s headquarters on Wednesday. Facebook has been building a number of products over the past six months and Zuckerberg revealed that this is the “beginning of what we’ll call launching season 2011.” Facebook’s new video calling service is based on the company’s work with Skype. “A few months ago, we started working with Skype to bring video calling to Facebook,” says Philip Su, an engineer on Facebook’s video calling team.
The service will allow Facebook users to simply call a friend from a button at the top of an existing chat window. Facebook’s latest video feature sees Microsoft’s Skype service integrated fully into Facebook. Skype and Facebook users can also exchange chat messages using the Skype service. Skype also made a 5.5 beta version for Windows available on Wednesday that provides access to Facebook chat. The video feature of Facebook works by using a Skype plugin to enable Facebook users to call each other.
Microsoft has been working closely with Facebook for its Windows Phone, Hotmail, Bing and Windows Live integration. Facebook’s messaging system also uses Microsoft’s Office Web Apps suite. Facebook users can also view Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents in their browser. “We have a really good relationship with Microsoft,” said Zuckerberg during a press Q+A session on Wednesday. “Now that Skype is owned by Microsoft it gives us the sense of stability,” he added. Skype CEO Tony Bates revealed that the Facebook partnership is an important piece for the company after the recent deal with Microsoft.
Facebook’s video calling service is available immediately.