Last week Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg caught eyes by stating that his company was working on “something awesome” to be revealed shortly. Today the young executive revealed his company’s awesome innovation, which is an wide ranging expansion of the social network’s chat features that will add group chat capabilities, and a video calling feature through a partnership with Skype. One should note Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is invested in Facebook and recently purchased Skype.
Opening the conference, ‘Zuck’ declared that “Today marks the beginning of launching season 2011,” and led the audience in a slow-burn buildup to his featured announcements. Notable quips from the Facebook chief were that the company now officially has 750 million users, though they don’t deem that number to be important. Zuckerberg spoke at length about his favorite metric, one he thinks is indispensible to the company’s future, the ‘rate of sharing’ or how often the network’s users share content with one another through apps, links, posts, etc. Facebook’s last five year’s, the CEO added, were about getting the world wired up to network, while the next five years will be about making the network (and its users) more conducive to sharing information.
To announce Facebook’s new video calling feature, Skype (NASDAQ:MSFT) CEO Tony Bates took the stage, saying, “Skype’s mission has really been to make communications as pervasive as possible…For us we think this makes a lot of business sense. Thinking about having Skype paid products on the web. We look forward to bringing video calling powered by Skype on Facebook to every one of you out there.”
The video chat option on Facebook will function similarly to Skype’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) existing video calling service, allowing users to extend and accept chat invitations to and from friends and group members.