"Some pundits are complaining that the technology is not new, but that’s besides the point. Case in point: at MySpace we launched what Zuckerberg is announcing in 2007 (try googling “myspace skype partnership”), and MySpace also had one-on-one video chat back in 2004. The point is that people weren’t really ready for it back then—now is the time, and Facebook has the user base. The large user base (750 million) paired with a simple integration of arguably the best voice/video tech (Skype) is what makes this news."
Tom gets it. One of the problems with experience is that you have, well umm, experience. It's the unfortunate ability to say, "We did video chat X years ago. Didn't work out, it's a bad idea."
I've seen this type of thinking first hand. You must understand why it didn't work before, and what is different now. I can see people at MS saying, "The iPad will never work. We tried tablets w/o keyboards back in 2002 and everyone wanted convertibles. It'll never work."
Little differences can be a big deal. Experience is not useful w/o the analysis to put your experience in perspective.
While it's certainly true that past performance of a technology is not a flawless indicator of future success, I'm not clear on what makes "now" the time for video chat.
With the iPad, Apple's key insight was that tablets had sucked because the OS hadn't been meticulously tuned to afford use on tablets. I'm curious as to what people think the key insight is that Facebook is bringing to video chat?
From what I'm reading here the TC author seems to think that Joe Average User wasn't using skype or stickam or any of the previous offerings for video chat because the user base wasn't there. I don't know about that, because all of my friends have had skype forever and I can count the number of times I've video chatted with them on one finger. I feel like I wasn't using those, and won't be using this, not because the user base wasn't FIXNUM huge, but because it feels intrusive and I don't want to feel like I have to shower, shave, and put on presentable clothes just to tool around on Facebook.
A big reason why Skype wasn't big on MySpace was that it wasn't seamless to use -- at least from my vague recollection didn't it require users to download MySpaceIM? That alone makes it a non-starter for a lot of people.
The other issue is that MySpace never reached this critical mass of users that Facebook has. I can see video chat being about Facebook, more than Skype over the next year. "Get on Facebook so we can video chat".
Lastly, broadband penetration and bandwidth is that much better since 2007.
Facebook still requires downloading a plugin to use video chat, so it has the same barrier to entry. I don't see being able to video chat from within my facebook.com window instead of in my Skype.app window as being a huge advantage.
Case in point: I told my younger sister about Facebook's announcement today, and she didn't really care since she already had Skype to video chat with her friends. Then I told her about Google+'s Hangout feature and her eyes lit up.
Video chatting is no longer a killer feature, but group video chatting is as long as Skype maintains premium pricing for group chats.
Facebook still requires downloading a plugin to use video chat, so it has the same barrier to entry.
No, Facebook will install it automatically. With MySpace you had to do a separate download to get the MySpaceIM client.
I told my younger sister about Facebook's announcement today, and she didn't really care since she already had Skype to video chat with her friends.
I have Skype and Facebook both today too. I have like 8 addresses in my Skype book. I have about 200 friends in Facebook, which includes almost everyone I talk to. I don't think my setup is all that unusual.
So to be clear, you had to go to a seperate webpage, download the plugin, go back to Facebook, and start up the chat session? I want to make sure that the old MySpace experience current FB experience are the same.
Nobody is claiming that Facebook's experience is as bad as MySpace. I'm sure it is much better, but that's irrelevant because Facebook isn't competing with MySpace. It's competing with Google+ and Skype, ironically.
I don't think Skype is a competitor to Facebook at all. Facebook has had a good partnership with Microsoft for several years and have finally found a good social element that Microsoft brings to the table (Skype).
Skype is great for video calls, Phone calls...and thats about it. Facebook does everything else.
Skype may have a good relationship with Facebook, but their products are still indirectly competing. Now that Facebook supports one-to-one video chat, I have no reason to download or register with Skype. Facebook went through great pains to keep user data anonymous from Skype. If Facebook is successful in getting its users to video chat, Skype will effectively become just a technology provider. Once that happens, Facebook could replace the underlying Skype technology with something developed in-house, thus killing Skype entirely.
Of course, given the good relations that Facebook has with Skype/Microsoft, I doubt they have any desire or intention to kill Skype, but the two services are certainly competing for the same users now.
Facebook's video chatting feature has no influence on my decision to use Google+, but it does influence my decision to use Skype.
I do understand your reasoning and logic behind your belief. If you were to ask someone now: "What application do you use to video chat with?" the answer is most likely going to sway heavy to Skype. If you ask that question in 3 to 9 months time and that answer has not changed, then Skype will be just fine.
Personally, I don't like the idea of video chatting through Facebook. I use skype exclusively to video chat because its what I am accustomed too, it's the application I trust. Trust being the keyword there because I do not trust Facebook.
I once worked at a smallish company that had been around for 20 years. In that time, they had tried just about everything and had failed at most things. It was very frustrating to work with people who considered things like test automation, normalized database structures, not copying and pasting to be discredited concepts.
first time i saw video from camera being immediately rendered inside a window on computer screen in 1995 (it was in Russia where we were technically noticeably behind the West) It still blows my mind what video chat is still not ubiquitous, and that a company adding video chat feature is a matter to notice.
Video chat isn't a technical problem, it's a social problem. I have multiple ways to video chat almost wherever I am, but I almost never want to video chat. When was the last time when you wanted to video chat but couldn't? That's never happened to me.
I don't want to video chat that often but the reason is that the only way to do so is through Skype (hard to convince anybody to move to a different service) and the video and voice quality is usually really bad so yes, I do think it is a technical problem (maybe not just software though).
I'd love to video chat with my baby daughter in the mornings because i go to work before she wakes up. But cannot because due to bandwidth issues, its an awful experience. So count me as an adopter if and when video chat ever becomes good!
I think that younger generations are the same, if not more so. Texting is far less intimate than a phone call, and a video chat is more intimate than a phone call. People are going in the other direction for most of their daily social contact.