Facebook Announces Video Calling – Will it Be Enough?

Facebook Video Calling

Facebook just announced it’s new “Video Calling” feature, which is pretty much Skype inside of Facebook, where you can use video instead of text to do a live chat with someone in your circle of friends. It’s interesting, insofar as it brings live video back and forth to Facebook, but then again, it feels a hair like “too little too late” when you look at Google+ and their Hangout feature, which is 10 people on a call and a lot faster-feeling, from what I could tell.

I took the liberty of bugging Ze Frank, video artist and creative genius, and I asked him for his thoughts on Facebook video and the rise of live video in general. (Note: I did originally try to do this with John Jantsch, but my video turned out super lagged and I couldn’t use it. Sorry, John.)

If you can’t see the video, click here.

My Take – Not so Much

I’m already loving Google+ a lot more than I ever liked Facebook. The fact they added something that looks like GChat’s video feature to Facebook chat feels like catch up, and it feels like the wrong feature. 1-1 is covered by Skype, so why bother doing it again? This only means that my social network inside of FB can now be connected easily, but that’s not enough.

Google+ and Hangout can do 10 people, can do it better, and already feels a lot more slick.

I’m curious to know your take.

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  • http://www.twitter.com/joshferris Josh Ferris

    I’ve used Skype, GTalk video (not Google+ yet) and oovoo for video calls numerous times. Of the three, Skype was the best for video calls in my experience. The video quality was clearer with less lag. GTalk was a very close second though. 

    I wouldn’t count Facebook out just yet but I’d be shocked if Google+ didn’t take off and become FB’s biggest competition. Facebook is a patchwork with a lot of stuff going on and no clear way (for the average user) to take advantage of all of the site’s features. If Google+ can master that then they have nothing to worry about.

  • http://twitter.com/RyanCritchett Ryan Critchett

    Interesting stuff Chris. I think it’s funny that Vid is happening like this on Fbook, when G + launched it and from what I hear, is crushing it!

    I think there will be a lot of similar opinions to yours. 

  • http://www.wflconsulting.com Jane Boyd

    Well…lots of us are still not “in” Google+ so it is hard to totally know what the difference is/will be.  I agree…it does sound like a bit of a catch up by Facebook.  It is great to keep “reading” about Google+ but I’ll be honest; it is also frustrating to have to continue to wait to be allowed “in”. If it continues, lots of people will quickly jump onto the new Facebook/Skype feature simply because they will be able to access it.  All this waiting is starting to change my view of Google….and not in a positive way.

  • Dave Cole

    Yeah, a week and a half late and a load of features short. Facebook apparently uses a different definition of “awesome” than most folks.

    • http://www.social-change-in-a-digital-divide.com Josh Chandler

      Ha! :)

  • Anonymous

    I agree, Chris.  I thought our little Google+ video chat earlier today was pretty cool but with only one “room”, the ideal number of people where it’s not too noisy seems to be around 10 – 15 or so.  
    With @spindows:twitter I’m trying to tackle this for the enterprise, keeping the chatting 1-to-1 but with a speed-networking like fast rotation. 
    You’re right:

    - Skype is good 1-to-1 for people you know.  High value. Zero serendipity.
    - Chatroulette was not good for much. Zero value. 100% serendipity. 
    - With Spindows, I’m trying to allow for high value AND high serendipity.  

    Imagine inside of a huge enterprise organization (Accenture, Dell, HP, Pepsi, etc.), 50 or 100 people video-networking 1-on-1 with other relevant people inside the organization. Relevancy is based on user tags (office, level, industry, practice area, personal interests, etc.).  Meet someone for 4 minutes, then move on.  

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    Almost everything you can do in Google+ can be done on Facebook. It is not hugely different, maybe just a little better.

    Will the masses switch for better? Not in many opinion. There is too much keeping them on Facebook.

    Over time, maybe. But any time soon, nope.

    (I am a geek and will probably get into Google+ but I don’t expect many of my Facebook friends to doo the same)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      The masses all have gmail accounts, though. What if you could do it all from a very integrated system? : ) 

      • http://twitter.com/Vilma_Bonilla Vilma Bonilla


        I am speaking from my experience as an enterprise systems trainer. When adopting new systems purely from a learner perspective, there will be people that prefer separate, specialized products that are familiar and those that are fans of new shiny, technology and integration. Competition in the market is a good thing.

        In my opinion, Facebook is quick to respond to perceived threats by launching products that may not be ready for mass usage. The product is refined over time. This is how I see the launch of the video calling product. The FB video feature doesn’t work seamlessly. We are in the early stages of implementation of a new feature. I view the launch as a phased “roll-out.” The feature will be rolled out gradually as users are in no rush to install it. As of yesterday, only 1% of my FB network had installed the product. I installed it but was not able to use it successfully. These numbers are telling.

        We will see what the future holds for both these platforms. I’m excitedly trying out G+. I find that I use the various platforms to connect with different people. Some people will not adopt all the popular networks. To each his own.

    • http://www.social-change-in-a-digital-divide.com Josh Chandler

      Robert, let’s wait and see. Personally, at the moment I agree with you, but I think Google could be onto something…

    • http://www.jonalford.com Jon

      Right, I know I’ll give it a try and there will certainly be friends and family of mine who just couldn’t be bothered.

      My thoughts on Chris’ comment concerning integration is the vulnerabilities, and threats, of having so much functionality in one basket. In our push for seamless integration, we’ll have massive growing pains getting the system right. It’s going to take a lot of filtering and compartmentalizing.

      Video, social networking, sharing content, blogging, posting, calling…all under the same roof? Sure. But with our shortened attention spans and the newness, I can see the occasional errant “send all,” “share all,” calling the wrong contact, sharing with the wrong circle or numerous other horrors.

      I am a Gmail user and use it for Gmail. I am a Skype user and use it for calling, interviews, and video calls. I am a Facebook user and use it to network with others, share content and comment. For me, this works but that’s because I’m a fan of working with separate “buckets.” So, I’m biased :) hehe

  • http://www.inboundnow.tv/ David Wells

    Ze Frank is the man! Great FB video interview! Perhaps the first ever? World record!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Might well be the first FB video calling video used for an interview instead of talking about why one should use it. 

    • http://www.social-change-in-a-digital-divide.com Josh Chandler

      David, agreed. Chris did a great interview!!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/micjohnson MicJohnson

    I think people are going to stay where the foundation of their network is….and that’s Facebook. for the near future…..no one wants to manage two FB-like networks….and that is basically what Google + is with some other features…..the danger is that the average user gets confused….I think Google + is too late to the game here, but it’s good for FB to have competition in the space to keep them on their toes.

    • http://www.social-change-in-a-digital-divide.com Josh Chandler

      Mic, I think that’s the view of a realist (which I share!). 

      It’s all about seeing how the initial users of Google+ who are mostly from Silicon Valley find the uses for it.

      There have been plenty of comparisons between Google+ and other social networks, but it’s all too soon to know. Once the user base grows and the more mainstream users adopts the service, then we will have a better idea on how successful Google+ will be.

      • http://www.bluegurus.com/ MicJohnson

        Not surpringly, Josh. I agree. I’m a realist and a rational optimist. I won’t be diving in to Google + for now, but I’ll dip my toes in the water once in awhile.

        • http://www.social-change-in-a-digital-divide.com Josh Chandler

          Mic, I am signed up to the invite notification emails. However, I am in no rush to signup right now.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/about Ryan Hanley

    Chris,  any idea when / if they rest of us will have access to Google+? 

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      No idea. But I imagine soon-ish. : ) 

  • Howard

    Hi Chris!
    The answer to Why? is a fairly simple one – Mark’s take is very much concerned with the more people can do INSIDE Facebook the better, so doing it in Google+ or Skype separately is not where he’s at.
    Catch-up? NO! Big G is the one scoring the own goal by restricting membership, so FB can probably roll Video Calling out to more folks overnight tonight than Google can while they have restricted entry. The future may be different, but for now it’s going to be Big G trying to do the catch-up! 
    I’m pleased you like the Google Group Calling ability of Hangout – at the same time, I’m intrigued to know whether Skype moving Screen Sharing into their Premium model is connected with today’s announcement – maybe it will come to a Facebook screen near us in the very near future?
    That’s my take,
    Have a great day Chris!
    Hope to see you in Exeter again sometime!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Great thoughts, sir. Thanks for your ideas. 

  • David Siteman Garland

    Good use of hopping on it Chris, happy to talk video with you anytime ;)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      We’ll do that more, sir. : ) 

  • Anonymous

    Does it really matter that FB came out with this a week after Google? Considering that 750+ million people will be able to use FB’s video chat as opposed to the 1000′s (?) on Google+, it looks like Google is the one who needs to play catch up.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      It sure does. You think G+ will stay in the thousands? 

      • http://twitter.com/ggruber66 ggruber66

        I don’t think that G+ will stay in the thousands, but I don’t know that we should be focusing on areas like multi-point video chat as the reason it succeeds — it makes it feel too much like shiny-object syndrome. 

        I use Skype all the time for work and personal use and the number of times I’ve even wanted to do multi-point video (let alone 10 people) is very few are far between. So when thinking about it in the big picture I think that the pain of re-building the community I already have on FB trumps features like this. 

        Plus I, as many people do, expect to see features like Circles, and improvements to the current video issues you and others are having on FB, improve on Facebook over time. If it takes FB a year to do that, then maybe G+ has a better chance of succeeding. But if they can do it within the next quarter or two, G+’s chances of replacing FB get much slimmer.

      • Anonymous

        The week matters to the cool kids currently behind the Google+ velvet rope, but to the millions who aren’t, nope. Eventually Google will open up to the unwashed masses, but the longer that takes, the greater the risk for Google in terms of adoption. Sure, Google might be the shinier object, but shiny means nothing to those who don’t have it.

  • http://cruisesurfingz.com roy | cruisesurfingz.com

    I think FB video chat will succeed simply because people are on FB so much! 

    • http://www.social-change-in-a-digital-divide.com Josh Chandler

      Roy, that is so true, although I think that Ze Frank had  a point in Chris’s video interview on this post, there is going to be a LOT more noise.

      I get bugged so often with little popup windows telling me about a new message, so, if I have even more noise coming from notifications to do video calls, I am going to find FB incredibly frustrating to use.

  • http://twitter.com/RizzoTees Chris Reimer

    Here’s what I know – any time I’m on Facebook and I try to send a video as a private message, it never works. The video records and I get a Facebook error, or it can’t find my camera. And it used to work, and Skype still works, so I’m not sure why it can’t find my camera. I have found Facebook video to be incredibly clunky and unreliable. Hopefully this service will work more smoothly.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      It crashed my first recording,so I’m not voting yes. 

    • http://www.social-change-in-a-digital-divide.com Josh Chandler

      Chris, I am having the same trouble with Facebook video.

      To be honest, the Facebook video upload tool has never been of great use to me. I find myself uploading to Youtube and then posting to FB because the link still becomes an active video player, so I really didn’t need to use Facebook video.

  • http://jeffkorhan.com Jeff Korhan

    Google+ is helping Facebook rewrite the lyrics to Empty Garden. :)

  • http://jeffkorhan.com Jeff Korhan

    You scooped Michael Arrington: http://tcrn.ch/r8gzKZ

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      I’ll take it. : ) 

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  • http://rickmanelius.com Rick Manelius

    Honestly, I’ve never really found the chat features/functionalities in facebook to be all that useful. I prefer email, skype, twitter, and (*gasp*) IRC. 

    To me, facebook will win me back with credibility and trust. Features are a distant second…

  • http://rickmanelius.com Rick Manelius

    ze frank is the man. I still watch his ‘procrastination’ episode of ‘the show’ every couple of months to reinspire me to just jump into it my next project. 

  • http://www.onelovemeg.com Meg @ OneLoveMeg

    Facebook had to do something. If they can run it successfully and it’s not incredibly slow then I think it will be a success. The key is to have one site that does it all, not skipping over to skype to video chat, going to instant messenger to type chat. If facebook can do it all before google plus maximizes to the masses then it could be a great success.

  • http://www.onelovemeg.com Meg @ OneLoveMeg

    Facebook had to do something. If they can run it successfully and it’s not incredibly slow then I think it will be a success. The key is to have one site that does it all, not skipping over to skype to video chat, going to instant messenger to type chat. If facebook can do it all before google plus maximizes to the masses then it could be a great success.

  • Seeulaterpintrader

    250 million vs 750 million…means you’d better get comfortible w/fb’s skype…
    though the verdict remains out until we see what ms can do with it.

  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/ Virtual Business Assistant

    has to come up with some thing new for its users to compete with
    Google. Lets hope this feature is a good one and liked by its users.

  • http://www.yourpennypinchingsourceonline.com/2010/07/considering-homeprotect-home-warranty.html Home Protect Home Warranty

    Here’s what I know – any time I’m on Facebook and I try to send a video as a private message, it never works. The video records and I get a Facebook error, or it can’t find my camera. And it used to work, and Skype still works, so I’m not sure why it can’t find my camera. I have found Facebook video to be incredibly clunky and unreliable. Hopefully this service will work more smoothly.

  • http://www.alphacomputer.ca/wpactc Jeff Brown

    With Facebook adding Skype Google+ is not so much a slam dunk Chris. Hopefully Google+ will cause Facebook to reconsider some things they are doing. One of the challenges Google+ has is making their stuff simple to that everyone can use it. IIf Google+ does not do it, it will be a gathering place for geeks only…just thinking Google Wave. ^Jeff

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  • http://www.automatedsocialnetworking.com Treb

    That really is fascinating. I totally agree though that having a consistent and unique approach to what Facebook is doing will really be so useful… I love Facebook and I love Skype, I use them everyday… It would really be a good thing if they are in one…

  • Munishmalhotra0085

    how to get video callin on fb , its nt  available in my id :(

  • http://twitter.com/PatLEstes Pat Estes

    I don’t think it’s enough either. Facebook is trying to defend against their doom and they’re losing in my opinion.

  • Gemma laguesma

    thank for facebook video calling it’s more help to people and so easy to see each other..may god bless people on facebook and also in whole world…and gd bless America …

  • http://www.kooldesignmaker.com/logo-design logo design services

    very outstanding service by facebook and we can keep in touch with more
    facilities but i think facebook in it self think that its not enough
    because after launch of google+ now facebook feel danger from google and
    they well know that it will be harmful if they don’t upgrade facebook.

  • http://www.businessandsoftwarestrategyforglobalisation.com Amelia@International Business

    Right. It would be redundant unless Facebook can come up with a feature that makes it more convenient than using Skype per se.

    Facebook is surely toughening up against Google+.

  • http://www.securitydirect.co.uk/acatalog/Paper_Hand_Towels_zfold_and_cfold.html Peter

    good idea but may not work because not as convenient as mobiles

  • Samad ahmad

    good idea but may not work because not as convenient as mobilesm tech computers