Messaging & Online Collaboration: Facebook, Skype, Microsoft Draw Closer Through Video Chat Feature
Facebook Closing In on 1 Billion Members
Facebook announced that it has surpassed the 750 million-member mark, and it is setting its sights on hitting 1 billion fairly soon. Mark Zuckerberg virtually shrugged off the accomplishment as if it wasn't a big deal. "The reason why we didn't report it is we don't think it's the metric to watch right now," Zuckerberg said. "We're more interested in the value that Facebook brings to people and the things they share on it."
Lighting Up the Globe
If all Facebook members were tiny points of light on a map, this is how the world would look.
Moores Law: Up and to the Right
Moore's law describes a long-term trend in the history of computing hardware: The number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. This trend has continued for more than half a century and is expected to continue until 2015 or 2020 or later. Zuckerberg claims that Facebook's user numbers follow the same path. (See next slide.)
Facebook Following Moores Law to a T
Zuckerberg had a chart July 6 at the press conference showing that Facebook's user numbers are following the same pattern.
Three New Functions
Zuckerberg explains the new functions launched July 6: Group Chat, the new design to accommodate more information in the chat function, and Video Calling.
This allows users to have a conversation among several people at the same time, in real time. It is ideal for collaborative projects and last-minute decision-making involving several people.
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. Facebook says its working on the group video calling function.
New Chat Looks Like This
Starting from a user's News Feed page, the user simply needs to click on the chat function, which brings up a new window (center). On larger screens, friends who aren't available will show up in a second window (right). To activate the video, all the user has to do is click on the video icon in the smaller window, which will send an alert to the person the user is calling.??Ã When the person called accepts the invite, only then does the video camera become activated.
Video Calling in Action
Facebook video calling product manager Phil Su connects with his fellow engineers at the company's Seattle office in a demonstration.
Moving Beyond Simply Connecting
Gartner analyst Ray Valdes said that he agrees with Facebook's assessment that "we're moving from an era where we make the initial [social media] connection to an era in which you assume a connection and build engagement."