Yesterday Facebook announced the addition of Skype enabled video calls inside the walls of Facebook. (Hmm, wonder if they own those too – but that’s another issue)
Today I’m seeing some folks anxiously awaiting for this feature to come to their page, so I thought I would do a quick post about using it now. I actually did a video chat with my buddy Chris Brogan during the Facebook press conference as the service was ready then.
First off go to the Facebook Video Calling Page and click the get started button.
As with most things online, your operating system, security settings and browser will impact what happens next, but Facebook will actually try to install a calling plugin that you’ll need. I’ve seen some reports of challenges with this step. My set-up is a Mac running Firefox and it went very smoothly. (Oh, Opera Browser is not supported at all.)
Next you can go back to your page or profile and, just like chat, find friends that are online, click on one and hit the camera icon to start a call. The good news is that they don’t need to have the plugin installed because FB will prompt them through it. They will of course need to have a camera and mic on, and hopefully done their hair, but they choose whether or not to take the call.
Pretty simple really.
It’s worth noting the Google’s Hangouts, part of Google+, allows group video chat while, for now, FB is one to one. Heavy Facebook will certainly will like this feature, but the Hangouts function does take a little of the awesomeness out of this new Facebook tool.
I do think business folks will find this feature useful for doing quick meeting or catching up and saying hi to a customer or vendor.