Skype announced on Thursday that it has updated its Windows and Mac clients to provide Facebook video calling.
The new feature allows Facebook Skype users to initiate video calls from within Skype to other Facebook users. The video calling feature will only work Facebook-to-Facebook for now and requires users to download a new beta version of Skype. “This new development in the Skype-Facebook partnership is the latest example of how Skype is removing communication barriers and making it easier to connect with friends, family and business colleagues,” said Skype’s Rick Osterloh in a blog post on Thursday. Skype has also updated its Windows and Mac clients to include video rendering. The feature provides a smoother video experience for Mac users and group sharing users on Windows.
Facebook announced a video calling service earlier this year, powered by Microsoft’s Skype service. The service allows 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. 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.
Microsoft is now expected to deliver its Windows Phone 7.5 Skype application in the coming weeks. The company previously introduced the Skype app during MIX 2011 earlier this year. Joe Belfiore, who oversees Windows Phone Program Management, introduced a number of new developer related enhancements in Windows Phone 7.5 Mango. “We’re excited to see Skype come to the platform this fall when all these additional enhancements are available,” said Belfiore at the time. The application should be one of the first to take advantage of Microsoft’s new forward facing camera support.