Facebook creator, Mark, Zuckerberg, made a live announcement today regarding the future of Facebook. So what is the future? Well, for now, it is video calling with Skype. For those who don’t know, Skype has been a stand-alone video call service. Recently there were talks of Microsoft buying Skype (not finalized but will probably happen) and also rumors of a Facebook + Skype partnership.
Zuckerberg also unveiled two more changes: group chats and a new chat design. Groups are places on Facebook where friends can post relevant topics. For example, if I wanted to organize a birthday celebration for one of my friends (not a surprise party), I could create a group called Joe Schmo’s Birthday Party and invite all of our friends. In the group, we can post ideas for food and games and Joe can tell us what he wants for his birthday. It’s a centralized hub instead of sending multiple emails.
With group chat, now if we are online at the same time, those members can chat in real time. Rather than have four chat windows open with four different people all talking about the same thing, now, we can all have one window open with four people talking.
My critiques? This is not new. Group chats have been around for years. In fact, before Facebook. Video chats are nice, but you can only video call one person at a time. To be honest, I am surprised Facebook didn’t already have these features. They are more along the lines of common sense rather than revolutionary.
So why did Zuckerberg hold a press conference and make a big deal about these minuscule changes? Google. Google+ that is. Facebook now faces competition in the social networking field. Granted, Google+ is far from a Facebook killer, it is more competition than a revamped MySpace or Twitter (which never intended to rival Facebook).
Google+ offers a video chat with up to ten people at a time. So for Facebook to come out and make this announcement just tells me they are not going to let Google steal any of their territory. This seemed more like a warning to Google than a product announcement. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go post this story on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.