Facebook and Skype press the 'like' button with video chat launch

Facebook and Skype, Virgin and Spotify - it's a veritable tech love-fest this morning.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 15 Jul 2011
As if having so-called ‘friends’ tag appallingly bad photos of you wasn’t enough, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has launched the social network’s latest offering: video chat. The new feature is in collaboration with Skype, the online voice chat service, which has been specialising in this sort of thing for years. It’s not the first time Skype and Facebook have collaborated: they also share the technology behind their instant messaging tools. And they also share a major shareholder: Microsoft, which owns a tranche of Facebook stock, and is currently in the process of buying Skype.

Presumably, it’s entirely coincidental that this launch has come mere days after Google launched its own attempt at social networking, Google+. And while the Facebook/Skype version is one-on-one, Google+ also features a video calling function, called ‘Hangout’, which allows users to do group video calls and has already received plenty of positive reviews from users. So, arguably, Google has got one up on Facebook already. One for Mark Zuckerberg et al to watch out for, wethinks.

Despite Facebook’s lateness to the video chat party, though, analysts seem impressed with the new offering, on the basis that anything that increases the amount of time people spend on Facebook (currently a very respectable 31 minutes, according to Alexa) will make advertisers even happier.

And that’s not the only technology partnership making the headlines: Virgin Media and Spotify have also announced a tie-up. The music streaming service has just landed a deal to sell its (ad-free) subscriptions via Virgin Media, giving Spotify the chance to target the latter’s 4m customers – who have already given an indication they’re happy to pay for TV and broadband. It’s exciting stuff for the music streaming service, putting it on the path to competing with Apple’s iTunes.

Spotify also hinted in a blog that it was planning on a launch in the US ‘soon’. It’s good news for the service, as well as US music lovers, who have been campaigning for a launch across the pond for a while. Although we would warn them that the novelty of that ‘Hi, I’m Adam from Spod-efy’ ad will wear off fast...

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