Facebook adds new features to their messaging service

Today Facebook announced a few new features with their messaging service, instant group chat and video chat via skype. If you visit the video chat homepage, you can get the features now, instead of waiting for the planned roll-out.

Once you install the  required plug-in, you can click the little video icon in the upper left of the chat box with whatever friend you choose, and chat away. You may need to refresh the page (ctrl+F5) or even restart your browser.

The process isn’t seamless. It took about 5 tries for our conversation to start, and it starts a skype window, separate from the browser. Not only that, the video window is forced on top of everything, unless you minimize it. The video is choppy, but that may have been the random black guy’s connection.

My overall impression is that this is a rushed product. It was probably a month away from release when Google+ showed up, and Zuckerberg probably got a little worried. Since Google already has a good video chat foundation, which is integrated into Google+, Facebook probably wanted to get their name back in the news.  Either way, it’s free and open, so head on over to the video chat page and try it out. Let us know what you think in the comments

Sources: Facebook Blog, Facebook Video Chat

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