Facebook unveiled its answer to Google+ Hangouts overnight, in the form of an integrated video chat feature built on Skype technology.
Typically, if two FB users want to perform a video call, they've got to leave Facebook and connect through either a Skype client, Apple's Facetime, Google Talk or even Google+ Hangouts. Now, all the users need to do is download a small FB plugin and boom — instant video messaging.
By integrating video calling directly into the Facebook experience they're able to drop this new technology directly into the mainstream. You thought getting Friend Requests from your parents was bad? then you're going to love explaining to your mum why you don't accept her video chat requests.
The Facebook/Skype partnership is a shrewd one, to be sure. Skype, if you'll remember, was purchased by Microsoft in May for $US8.5 billion. This move not only strengthens Facebook's own feature list but also strengthens the budding FB/MS alliance (what with Facebook's recent Bing integration and all) against their common Google enemy.
In addition to Video Calling, Facebook also revealed Group Chat with a new design that makes it easier to find buddies that are online.