Facebook has made some noteworthy improvements in the way we communicate with our friends. Last week, it was rumored that Facebook is going to bring in-browser video calling system. Today at a press event in its headquarters, the social network made the announcement of its video calling facility which is powered by Skype. A blogpost by Philip Su, introducing the new service, reads, “Today I’m excited to introduce video calling and other improvements to chat.”
Along with the video calling facility Facebook has also introduced a new sidebar in the right navigation, which will show users the list of people, whom they message most. In this way, it will be easier for users to begin a conversation with them.
Other than the video calling feature and the new sidebar, the social network is also rolling out a group chat service. Group chat facility, as the name suggests, will allow users to chat with multiple friends in a single conversation. The chat window will allow users enjoy all of these as new buttons have been included for each. The new design is definitely user-friendly.
As I mentioned previously, Facebook has introduced the video calling feature to compete with the Hangouts’ feature of Goggle+. But, there is a significant difference between the two services. Hangouts allows multiple users to chat at single time but, Facebook’s facility only allows one-on-one calling as of now. So, the big question that everyone is asking now is, “Will Facebook provide a feature like Google+? The answer to that, according to me, is: Yes, they will.
The reason being my saying this completely justifiable. Facebook and Microsoft have been in a deep partnership for some time now, which has shown a lot of new features in this year itself. Now, Microsoft has recently acquired Skype, which allows multiple users to video chat but, for that one of the users has to be a premium (paid) customer. Most, analysts are suggesting that in due course Microsoft will allow every Skype user to utilize its video conferencing service for free. Once that happens we can also expect Facebook to allow a similar service.
Being a Facebook fan makes me happy to see such a feature yet, I am offended by a step that the social network has adopted. To use the video calling facility of Facebook, a user has to install an exe file on his computer. Being an open source evangelist, this step has not gone down well with me as no Linux user can use Facebook video calling facility without having to install an environment like Wine. There have been a lot speculation after the acquisition of Skype that, Microsoft will kill the facility for the Linux users. That is now evident in the present move by Facebook. Zuckerberg, being a believer of openness, should not have gone into a partnership with Microsoft that hurts the open source community.