Facebook, Skype Talk Social Network VOIP Deal

Facebook will integrate with Skype to allow users of the world's largest social network to leverage the VOIP giant's PC-to-PC calling capabilities, rivaling Google's VOIP tools.

Facebook and Skype are reportedly discussing an integration that would allow users of the world's largest social network to leverage the VOIP giant's PC-to-PC calling capabilities with their Facebook account information.

Facebook and Skype are working to allow Facebook users to send SMS messages and make voice and video calls to friends and contacts via Skype, according to AllThingsDigital.

Facebookers will be able to sign into Skype through Facebook Connect, which allows users to sign into third-party Websites with their Facebook accounts. The integration is expected in Skype 5.0, scheduled for an October launch.

A spokesperson for Skype neither confirmed nor denied the report, telling eWEEK Sept. 29: "While I'd love to give you a comment or more info, the only thing I could tell you right now is that Skype doesn't comment on rumor or speculation."

Facebook has grown to more than 500 million users, many of whom are spending more time socializing than searching on Google.

However, Facebook wants to increase the stickiness quotient, particularly as it works to build out its social advertising capabilities.

One way to do that is to empower Facebook with more communications capabilities. Facebook has had chat capabilities for more than two years, allowing users to see which of their contacts are online and send them instant messages.

But a glaring omission has been voice communications and even face-to-face video chat.

Integrating with Skype, which has 560 million registered users of its own, would provide these capabilities for users without forcing Facebook to build its own VOIP capabilities.

A Facebook-Skype VOIP integration would also be an answer to communications and collaboration capabilities offered by Google. The search engine offers Google voice and video chat and Google Voice phone-management software, which has recently been integrated with Gmail.

September has proven to be quite the month for mating phones and Facebook. TechCrunch ignited the rumor that Facebook was building mobile-phone software.

While it now looks as though another social networking phone made by INQ Mobile and Facebook is more likely, it's clear that Facebook is intent on extending its presence into mobile devices and other calling platforms.