Facebook and Skype New Video Chat Platform: Event Will Tell All

There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding an announcement due to be made by Facebook this week, with its CEO Mark Zuckerberg teasing the Seattle press about an “awesome” new product. An event is being held on Wednesday (July 6) for the big reveal but word is that Facebook is introducing a new video chat platform powered by Skype.

Sources with “knowledge of the partnership,” according to Michael Arrington over on TechCrunch, say that this new video chat experience will work in-browser, which would explain the chat icons on the invitations. The Facebook event is scheduled for July 6 at 10am in Palo Alto and is invitation-only. It’s not too much longer then until we get everything spelled out but for now it’s being reported that the new product includes a desktop component and has been built on Skype with deep integration between the two companies.

Skype has previously been working with Facebook to introduce Facebook features into its service but this is a whole different ball game. Skype currently has 170 million active users, an amount not to be sniffed at, but when we take into consideration that Facebook now has over 750 million users that’s a huge amount of extra usage that Skype will be tapping into. Voice and video communication within Facebook will no doubt be an extremely popular move for its users and so it would seem this is a partnership that will please an awful lot of people.

Over on Mashable, Ben Parr also reports on this and reminds us that there was other talk last year on a similar vein but nothing came of it at the time. Mashable sources have also now confirmed the event is all about Skype-powered video chat on Facebook although it’s not yet clear exactly how it will work. For instance will a user already need to have Skype installed on their computer or even if they have this already, will extra software need to be downloaded? Another question not answered is if the feature will support group video chat.

It will certainly be a good answer to the new Google+, which was unleashed with its own video chat feature, Google+ Hangouts. No doubt Facebook realized the threat of a new rival to the social networking sphere and stepped up to show it’s not underestimating that threat and is keeping on top of the game. We’d be interested in your thoughts about Skype-powered video chat on Facebook so let us have your comments on this.