July 6, 2011
Two years ago I read an article in Wired outlining Facebook’s plans to elbow out Google. I scoffed at the idea. Google was the master of the internet, it was organized and professional. Facebook was what I used to creep people, to (un)tag drunk photos of friends, and generally dick around. Besides, Google was about to master social communication with Google Wave. All would be right in the world (wide web) and Zuckerberg could retire nicely knowing he had made millions by improving MySpace. I shouldn’t have been so dismissive. Google Wave was a massive failure and Facebook continued to grow (both in terms of actual users and it’s general pervasiveness on the internet). And today, in Facebook’s constant battle to one up Google, they’ve responded to Google+ Hangouts by announcing Facebook Video Calling. Or rather, they’ve made the new chat feature immediately available – a good two weeks after Google announced (but did not widely-release) Google+ Hangouts. Ouch. Feel that burn, Google?
Within minutes of hearing about Facebook Video Calling (they’ve partnered with Skype to provide this service, by the by) my dear friend Nick and I were hitting the ‘install’ button and jumped on a call together.
Granted, Facebook Video Calling isn’t *actually* anything special. For anyone who has used Skype, Google Video Chat, or iChat, it’s pretty much par for the course. Sometimes you sound like a robot, but mostly, the video works and you’re left to chatter away. And as @guygal mentioned, this seems like something they should have done ages ago. What does make Facebook Video Calling special is the timing of it’s release (with regards to Google+) and their partnership with Skype – soon to be owned by Facebook shareholder Microsoft. Aka what makes Facebook Video Calling special is it’s potential to be huge.
Can you hear that? It’s a faint ‘nah nah nah nah nah’ coming from Facebook headquarters directed towards the Google empire. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Google hasn’t been too savvy in their attempt to participate in the social-web. While Google+ seems promising (aside from the fact that although our company uses Google Apps, we can’t make stitchmedia.ca accounts..*ahem*), having recently surpassed 750 million users Facebook is primed to steal the spotlight from the invite-only service. Sorry Google, your move.
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