Facebook Answers Google+ Hangouts With Skype Calling

One has to appreciate the timing of Facebook unveiling a group chat application one week after Google+ launches a social network to not-so-subtly compete with Facebook, which has more than 750 million users. However, there are some differences between the services, which may matter if people use

One has to appreciate the timing of Facebook unveiling a group chat application one week after Google+ launches a social network to not-so-subtly compete with Facebook, which has more than 750 million users.

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However, there are some differences between the services, which may matter if people use both + and Facebook and may not if they use one or the other. As a journalist covering the space, I'm going to try both.

But first, a little info clarity. I knew that Google Hangouts permitted 10 simultaneous video chat users per session, so I wanted to see if Facebook was the same, less or more.

Facebook's video chat is one-to-one, though it will allow group messaging chat for up to 20 people at once.

Moreover, apparently Facebook said that one-on-one video chat is far more popular on Skype than group chat. So who knows when/if group video chat will be part of the mix. My guess is if it works great on Google+, Facebook will add it.

The big question is whether it will charge for it. Skype charges users $5 to $10 per month for multi-person video chat. Would Facebook do what Google does and eat the cost of video transmission over the Web as the cost of competing. Probably.

10 people on a video chat seems crazy to me... unless you're planning a strategy session or doing some project management. I wonder if the Wave concept came into Hangouts.

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Interestingly, TechCrunch said Hangouts is lousy for one-to-one call sessions, so Google may want to fix that to compete with Facebook's video chat with Skype service.

ReadWriteWeb says otherwise, noting that users start a Hangout, deselect the Public option, and pick a contact from auto suggestions.

Moreover, having more options for video chat is a plus, pun intended..

CNET has a full review of both Google Hangouts and Facebook with Skype video chat here, with the conclusion that confirms the TechCrunch and ReadWriteWeb reports that:

"Facebook is simpler to use. The longer answer is that you might be happier with Google in day-to-day use."

What is your experience with both Hangouts and Facebook video chat?