PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Facebook made three significant announcements July 6, all important to the company and to the online social networking market in different ways.
First, Facebook announced that it has surpassed the 750 million-member mark, with a cool 1 billion clearly within reach. The last time Facebook talked about its membership last October, it had just passed 500 million.
Secondly, the company revealed a new partnership with Skype, the world's largest peer-to-peer video service, which is soon to become property of Microsoft.
Finally, Facebook launched its long-anticipated video chat service -- powered, of course, by Skype.
One-Click Path to Video Chat Entry
Facebook and Skype kept entry into this new feature to a bare minimum. All a user has to do to use the video chat is to select a friend who's available and click on the video chat icon in the chat window. The service then alerts the person the user is calling. When the callee accepts the invite to video chat, the videocams are then activated.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told a standing-room-only press conference here at the company's California Avenue headquarters that the whole process only takes about a minute.
"What could possibly be simpler than one click into video chat?" the 27-year-old company co-founder said.
The new Skype function on Facebook, which requires a download of a plug-in client, enables one video user to connect with one other user at a time. In contrast, Google's new social networking tool, Google+, enables up to 10 people to talk to each other in a group video chat session format.